Forums


Prevention Medications

Antidepressants

  • By Ellen Schnakenberg

    Heather, you really need to talk to your doctor or pharmacist re: potential side effects. Each person is different, and the side effects you encounter will be different than someone else’s. That said, let’s see if anyone chimes in to tell you about their experience.

    Amitriptylene was one of the first preventives I tried years ago. It was so long ago, I don’t know that I remember any side effects I had other than fatigue. In my case this was not a bad side effect for me as I have had a hard time sleeping most of my life. I stopped the drug because it did not affect my Migraine frequency or severity.

    Someone very close to me uses it and has not had a Migraine for a few years now. It works great for her with few side effects at all- she might even say no side effects.

    Remember you need these to be somee of the first questions you ask your doctor when you receive a new prescription: What are some of the potential side effects and contraindications? What is the treatment plan for this drug? When can I expect to see changes in my attacks? Can I stop this drug or do I need to contact you for instructions?

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  • By Heather

    Alright, thank you. She listed loads and there are more on the leaflet that comes from it and I wanted to see what real people felt from it. The outcome is potentially hopeful then I guess

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  • By pizzlesticks

    My neurologist prescribed an anti-depressant. It worked sooo wonderfully, got my migraines/ headaches down to just one a day. Unfortunately, i was allergic to it. made my arms itch sooo bad that i couldnt resist itching and now they are scarred =(.

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  • By taralane

    Pizzlesticks,

    I’ve had neurologists run me through every anti-depressant in the same class before trying a new one – particularly true of the triptalines, and none of them worked. Use the internet to make sure the new anti-depressant is in a different class from the last one you had such an allergic reaction to. I’ve had that kind of itching from a medication and it can get so bad the itching is more like stabbing pain, so I sympathize.

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  • By darkenvy

    Hello,
    I was prescribed Nortriptyline a couple days ago for my daily migraines. Im still getting some unpleasant side-effects such as drowsiness and a dissasosiated feeling. I’m gonna see if they pass in a week or so. Anyone else take Nortripryline that could inform me of how long until side effects go away? what to expect?

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  • By Ellen Schnakenberg

    darkenvy, It can take several months for side effects to finally stabilize. I know it’s hard, but since we have a limited number (however large it may be) of things to try, it’s best to be doubly, absolutely sure that something isn’t going to be helpful and tolerable before discarding it. This is a really big problem and the majority of patients will stop a treatment too early because of their fear they can’t live with the side effects. Remember too, if you want to stop something, it’s really important to talk to your doctor about how to do it. Some meds can be very dangerous if this isn’t done correctly. 🙂

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  • By darkenvy

    Yes I’m going to push through it for at least a month as this is how long my doctor says I need to wait before I can evaluate its effectiveness. So my previous side effect of of the dissasosiative and drousyness subsided but now I have a tremor that comes and goes. I think it has a direct connection with caffeine even though I just had my normal amount; one cup. Tomorrow I’m going to skip the coffee

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  • By Ellen Schnakenberg

    Dark envy – I am definitely glad you are going to hang in there for that month, but to be honest it may take 3 months before you truly stabilize… And that’s at the therapeutic dosage. Is your doctor titrating you up to a higher therapeutic dosage, or are you already there? Titrating up often helps with side effects, but the clock doesn’t actually start until you’re there.

    The unfortunate thing about Migraine preventives is the immense amount of time it takes… And the patience, bravery and forethought it takes to wait it out. Hard. Hard. Hard.

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  • By marymaggitas

    Hey Guys, I take Nortriptyline 10mg at night when I get these headaches. This has really helped to reduce the amount of migraines I have had. It does make you drowsey but I quess thats why it works. I recently started drinking a vitamin powder drink called Tangy tangerine. I have noticed my migraine pain is much lower manageable with an asprine. I only drink it about 1x a week. I really do think this drink helps. I also take a magnesium pill at bedtime.

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    • By donna

      Hi,

      I have had severe migrains since the time when specialist didn’t know anything about them. 53 years now or more of suffering. From a small child that was held back a grade because I wasn’t there in class ever to a 63 year old who now doesn’t have the pain as bad but the worse part for me is the constant vomiting from the minute I get one untill the end which is about 48 hours. Vomiting every 2 to 3 minutes or upon any movement.

      I have looked high and low for some help with the vomiting but to no avail. PLEASE SOMEONE HELP!!!!!! There must be something that can stop this.

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    • By Teresa

      Hi Donna, I don’t know if anyone has responded to you since this post was a while ago, but have you tried Phenergan suppositories? I know it is not the most pleasant thing, but since you don’t have to swallow anything, it actually has time to work. This is the only thing that I can use sometimes.

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  • By rhondagrensberg

    Confused here. For first time in my life I had to go on maintenance medication, the doctor prescribed Fluoxetine. This is an SSRI. Admittedly I have only been taking it a week, but I am still taking naproxin AND bayer migraine. Not a huge drug taker other than my daily multi-vitamin. Is this normal? Shouldn’t you start seeing some differences almost immediately?

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  • By Ellen Schnakenberg

    rhondagrensberg-smith – Unfortunately, preventives often may take weeks or even months before they begin to have an effect… if they have an effect. https://migraine.com/pro/preventative-treatment-for-migraine-overview-and-approach/ and here is another helpful link: https://migraine.com/blog/migraine-management-essential-4-preventive-treatment/

    I admit I am worried you say you are taking naproxen and Bayer Migraine, wondering if you are aware of Medication Overuse Headache? https://migraine.com/blog/help-how-can-i-not-overuse-migraine-medications/

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  • By WickedT

    Has anyone tried Pristiq? My doc has suggested trying it. I’ve tried Cymbalta – had good results but gained weight on it and had continuous, unending appetite (so had to stop). Have read a lot about Pristiq online and it seems to be a God send or the drug from hell. Anyone’s impute would be appreciated!

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  • By CM

    RHONDAGRENSBERG-SMITH:

    Prophylactic medications can take as long as a month to start seeing full results, but usually you should start feeling something within two weeks.

    Check your use of Naproxen and the Aspirin though, because rebound headaches can be an issue for you as well. You should use medications like that no more than 3 times per week.

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  • By Teri Robert

    CM,

    I don’t know where you got your information on how long it takes preventives to start working, but you’ve been misinformed.

    It can take as long as THREE months to start seeing full results. Also, depending on the medication, it’s not unusual NOT to “start feeling something within two weeks.”

    Teri

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  • By AmyBabee

    Has anyone taken Celexa? It was just prescribed to me but have not started on it yet. Does it help? I was told it is anti-depressant/anxiety medication that will calm me down since I get usually get anxious before my peiod in anticipation of the accompanying headaches that when it comes it makes the headache worse.

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  • By Camassia

    My doctor started me on Effexor a few days ago. The first night I vomited after taking it, the second day I developed intense paraesthesia and burning pain that spread from head to trunk and all over my body. I noticed my face was slightly swelling shortly after I took the capsule and had a red rash. The fourth day the swelling of the face was more prominent, had a rash and I had difficulty swallowing. Burning pain all over. I took a Benadryl as I have a history of allergic reaction to drugs. This did not resolve the issue completely so I ended up in ER. They told me to stop taking this medication.

    I wonder if anyone else had this experience? Would I be reacting to other antidepressants, too? My doctor pushing Topomax but I’m terrified of it as I’m so sensitive to side effects. 🙁

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  • By Tammy Rome

    Camassia,

    I am so sorry about your experience with Effexor. Unfortunately, there is no good way to tell if someone will have a bad reaction to any given medication until it is tried. Effexor is an SNRI, so your doctor might recommend you avoid other antidepressants in that category. However, that doesn’t rule out use of SSRI or tricyclic antidepressants. The most common antidepressant used as a migraine preventive is Elavil (amitriptyline). It is a tricyclic antidepressant. The first time I tried it, I was 21 and had horrible side effects. Now at 45 I am back on it and doing fine at twice the original dose. You just never know how your body will respond.

    I am also sensitive to medication side effects, except I have about a 2-week delay. My doctor and I agreed that any new medications will be started at the smallest dose and given a full 2-week trial before increasing the dose. This means that my medication trials can be exceptionally long, but at least I don’t get too sick from side effects. Maybe your doctor would be open to a similar agreement?

    I have used Topamax before and tolerated it fairly well for almost 2 years before the side effects became intolerable. If I had not been in graduate school, the cognitive changes would not have been enough to get me to stop (that, and it stopped working so well). I didn’t feel any side effects at the lowest dose. When the dose was raised a week later I started having tingling in my feet and hands. I was able to stop that by taking a Potassium supplement each day and drinking lots of water. If it got bad, Gatorade would knock it out. I had a pretty good sense of humor about the forgetfulness, too. For the first 18 months, I would occasionally forget an easy word in the middle of a sentence. That final titration up to 200 mg pushed me over the edge and I felt like a zombie. That’s when I stopped. However, I did get over a full year of good management from it before it stopped working. I think it was worth the try.

    Before I started it, I was terrified of the horror stories about glaucoma, kidney stones, kidney failure, etc. My doctor reassured me that the eye problems would show up right away and stopping the meds would correct the problem. He also monitored my kidney function every month for the first 6 months and then yearly after that just to give me peace of mind. None of those problems ever appeared. Looking back, I am glad that I tried it. Now I know and can move on to other options. It really is a first-line option for migraine prevention. Who knows? You might be pleasantly surprised by the results.

    I am including links to information about all of the medications I mentioned to help you make an informed decision:
    https://migraine.com/migraine-treatment/prevention-medications/
    https://migraine.com/migraine-treatment/antidepressants-for-migraine-headaches/
    https://migraine.com/migraine-treatment/elavil/
    https://migraine.com/migraine-treatment/anticonvulsants-and-antiepileptic-drugs/
    https://migraine.com/stories/topamax/
    https://migraine.com/migraine-treatment/depakote-and-depakote-er/

    Take care and write back to let me know how you are doing.

    Tammy

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    • By Camassia

      Thank you Tammy, you’re so kind. 🙂 This is very useful information to discuss with my doctor.

      I did some research re: antidepressants and noticed that Celexa is a mild antihistamine. I wonder this would be a better option for people with multiple allergies who tend to have angioedema as a reaction to drugs – I’ll discuss this with my GP the next time I see her.

      I guess in forums there are a lot of stories about problems with treatment and disease but not as many success stories – this can send already anxious people, like me, into panic mode. I’ll definitely come back to post here if I find anything that helped my situation.

      Take care Tammy and thanks again for your ongoing support. 🙂

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  • By Teresa

    I have never had any antidepressant meds work for my migraines. I have severe depression with my migraines and have tried many different kinds over the years. Amitriptyline was one of the first that was prescribed to me and I had a horrible experience. It made my mood much worse, I could not stop crying, and I gained about 30 pounds which of course, did not help the depression at all.
    I am currently taking Cymbalta which I love. I has been the best antidepressant I have tried. It did me no good at 60mg, so my doc upped me to 90 mg, and the difference was amazing.
    If you have problems with allergies, you may ask your doc about Cyproheptadine. My doc was about to give up because I have tried almost everything he could think of, to no avail, and then he thought of the Cypro. It is an antihistamine / anti-serotonin, so it should help if you are sensitive to many meds. Amazingly enough, it is the first med in a long time to actually help with my migraines. It only gives me a few days of relief, but a few days is worlds better than no days.
    Keep trying and if at first you don’t succeed…

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