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09 Mar 2007

ANTI-DEPRESSANTS FOR HEADACHE
I suffer from headaches regularly, about five or six times a week. After trying low blood pressure medication and Immigral the headaches still persisted. I also get craving for ice-cream and chocolates when I get these headaches. My doctor prescriped Cipralex, an anti-depressant for me as headache prevention medication. Will this help for the headaches and how safe are the anti-depressants to take?
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Expert
Headache expert
headache expert

01 Jan 0001

Dear Noen,

Although certain antidepressants are used to try and prevent headaches, Cipralex is not one of them. The answer though is not to rely on medication – one has to find out what is causing the headaches and treat the cause. You need a proper medical assessment, which should include a neurological examination. The reason for this is to make absolutely certain that there is not some serious or life threatening underlying medical condition causing the headaches. Although this is uncommon, it is essential to exclude this possibility before doing anything else.

Once this has been done, then the next part of the investigation is started. The correct way to deal with the problem is to have a proper diagnosis of the underlying causes of the headache. If these are treated, the headaches no longer occur, and it is no longer necessary to rely on potentially harmful “rescue” medication.

To get to the root of the problem, you need what is called a “multidisciplinary” assessment. There are many different structures in the head and neck, all of which can be involved in the headache process, and no single specialist can have all the knowledge necessary to make a comprehensive assessment and diagnosis. For this reason, the combined the expertise of different specialists who would normally treat headache patients in isolation, are co-ordinated into a single more comprehensive body of knowledge. This enables a more comprehensive treatment plan, in which all the contributing factors are addressed. This assessment must include examination to determine the presence of tension in the head and neck muscles.

Headache sufferers often have a poor Quality of Life due to the constant pain and associated symptoms. For a free assessment of how your headaches are affecting your Quality of Life, click on http://www.headacheclinic.co.za/

This information has been supplied and checked by the multidisciplinary team of specialists at The Headache Clinic, in association with The International Headache Society and the South African Institute of Headache and Migraine Science. For consultation with these specialists, call The Headache Clinic on 0861 678 911 (Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban).

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical examination, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.