Antidepressant medicines, which are usually used to treat
depression, can be effective in preventing chronic
tension headaches. Antidepressants have some
pain-relieving properties and may reduce how often headaches occur and how long
they last. Antidepressants are also used to improve sleep problems.
Tricyclic antidepressants, such as amitriptyline, are the
antidepressants used most often to reduce the frequency or duration of tension
As headaches go, migraines are in a league of their own.
Migraines typically produce pulsating pain on one side of the head. That can lay you low for up to 72 hours.
About 20% of people with migraines have headaches preceded by aura, which can include:
Blind spots or zigzags in your field of vision
Aura may also include numbness or tingling on one side of the body. Aura without head pain is also a form of migraine.
Migraines are often prompted by one...
Medicines to prevent tension headaches have not been well studied.
The best evidence is for amitriptyline. It has been
proven to reduce how often tension headaches occur and how bad they get.1 If you do not respond well to
amitriptyline, you may try other tricyclic antidepressants, although they may
not work as well to relieve your headache.
effects of tricyclic antidepressants include:
Drowsiness or sleepiness.
Inability to urinate.
Low blood pressure when you stand up quickly.
Other antidepressants used to prevent tension
headaches include mirtazapine (Remeron) and venlafaxine (Effexor).
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.
In this article
This information is produced and provided by the National
Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National
Institute via the Internet web site at http://
.gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
May 02, 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