Skip to content

    Migraines & Headaches Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Antidepressants for Migraine Headaches - Topic Overview

    Antidepressant medicines, which are usually used to treat depression, can be effective in preventing migraine headaches. Antidepressants have some pain-relieving properties and may reduce duration and frequency of headaches. Antidepressants are also used to improve sleep problems.

    Tricyclic antidepressants are used most to prevent migraines. Amitriptyline and nortriptyline are used most often.

    Recommended Related to Migraines/Headaches

    Understanding Migraines -- Diagnosis and Treatment

    There is no specific test to diagnose a migraine headache. If you seek help from your health care provider for recurring headaches, you may be asked to keep a headache diary in which you record information about symptoms leading up to a headache, symptoms of the actual headache, and possible triggers that may have provoked the episode. Your health care provider will want to take a careful history to determine any patterns to your headaches and to learn whether such headaches run in your family....

    Read the Understanding Migraines -- Diagnosis and Treatment article > >

    Other antidepressants may be tried if you do not respond well to amitriptyline or nortriptyline. The choice of antidepressant to treat your migraines may depend on your ability to tolerate the side effects of the medicine.

    Side effects of tricyclic antidepressants include:

    Never suddenly stop taking antidepressants. The use of any antidepressant should be tapered off slowly and only under the supervision of a doctor. Abruptly stopping antidepressant medicine can cause negative side effects or a relapse into a depressive episode or panic disorder.

    FDA advisories. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued:

    • An advisory on antidepressant medicines and the risk of suicide. Talk to your doctor about these possible side effects and the warning signs of suicide.
    • A warning about taking triptans, used for headaches, with SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) or SNRIs (selective serotonin/norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors). Taking these medicines together can cause a very rare but serious condition called serotonin syndrome.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: April 17, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    1
    Next Article:

    Antidepressants for Migraine Headaches Topics

    Today on WebMD

    Business woman with hand on face and eyes closed
    What aura looks like, triggers, and more.
    woman with migraine
    Get the truth about migraines.
     
    headache in the bedroom
    Keep headaches from ruining your sex life.
    woman with hands on head
    Test your knowledge of triggers, types, and more.
     
    woman with migraine
    Quiz
    drinking coffee
    Article
     
    Migraines Headaches Basics
    Article
    acupuncture needles in woman's back
    Slideshow
     
    Tired young man
    Slideshow
    spraying perfume
    Article
     
    man with a headache
    Article
    headache in the bedroom
    Article