Why are antidepressants used to treat migraines?

Antidepressants are the medicines used for the treatment of depression and its symptoms. Almost all of them manage the work of neurotransmitters, the chemicals that communicate messages from one brain cell to the other. Antidepressants can also help in migraine headache treatment. However, unlike the name of these medicines, they can help in the treatment of the following conditions-

  • Insomnia
  • Eating disorders
  • Hot flashes
  • Anxiety
  • Chronic pain
  • Panic disorders

How do antidepressants work for migraines? 

The exact cause of migraine is unclear. However, several reasons can result in the condition. Serotonin level gets down when you develop the symptoms of migraine. Moreover, the unevenness of neurotransmitters can also cause the condition. Antidepressants can ease migraine symptoms in such situations.

What are the types of antidepressants? 

  • Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)

They elevate the level of norepinephrine and serotonin in the brain.

  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)

Norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin are monoamines. Monoamine oxidase is an enzyme that is naturally made in the human body, annihilates monoamines.Monoamine oxidase inhibitors restrict the action of this enzyme and prevent damage to the monoamines.

However, doctors hardly prescribe MAOIs to people because they lead to cause severe side effects.

·       Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)

These antidepressants elevate the level of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the human brain. SSRIs have minor side effects than other kinds of antidepressants.

·       Tricyclic antidepressants

Also called cyclic antidepressants, these medications boost the level of serotonin and norepinephrine.

Doctors often prescribe tricyclic antidepressants for preventing migraines. However, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) show minor side effects than tricyclic antidepressants.

Migraine headache treatment includes several healing methods. If you happen to develop frequent and severe migraines and treatments do not bring successful results, you can try antidepressants. Consult with your doctor before taking them.

Do antidepressants cause side effects? 

Antidepressants can lead to cause various side effects. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) have fewer side effects as compared to other types of depression medications. It is the reason why they are the first choice of doctors for their patients.

Nevertheless, other after-effects of antidepressants are as follows-

  • Nervousness
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Dry mouth
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Impatience

Tricyclic antidepressants may result in causing the following side effects-

  • Low blood pressure, especially when you stand
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Urinary retention
  • Constipation

Nevertheless, these side effects may vary from medication to medication. You need to sit with your doctor and pick the antidepressant that brings successful results and causes fewer or almost no harmful side effects. It is always a good idea to consult with your doctor about migraine headache treatment.

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