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Tricyclic antidepressants and headaches: systematic review and meta-analysis.

Jackson JL, Shimeall W, Sessums L, Dezee KJ, Becher D, Diemer M, Berbano E, O'Malley PG - BMJ (2010)

Bottom Line: Tricyclics were more likely to cause adverse effects than placebo (1.53, 95% confidence interval 1.11 to 2.12) and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (2.22, 1.52 to 3.32), including dry mouth (P<0.0005 for both), drowsiness (P<0.0005 for both), and weight gain (P<0.001 for both), but did not increase dropout rates (placebo: 1.22, 0.83 to 1.80, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors: 1.16, 0.81 to 2.97).Tricyclic antidepressants are effective in preventing migraine and tension-type headaches and are more effective than selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, although with greater adverse effects.The effectiveness of tricyclics seems to increase over time.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: General Medicine Division, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, DC, USA. Jeffrey.jackson6@va.gov

ABSTRACT

Objective: To evaluate the efficacy and relative adverse effects of tricyclic antidepressants in the treatment of migraine, tension-type, and mixed headaches.

Design: Meta-analysis.

Data sources: Medline, Embase, the Cochrane Trials Registry, and PsycLIT. Studies reviewed Randomised trials of adults receiving tricyclics as only treatment for a minimum of four weeks.

Data extraction: Frequency of headaches (number of headache attacks for migraine and number of days with headache for tension-type headaches), intensity of headache, and headache index.

Results: 37 studies met the inclusion criteria. Tricyclics significantly reduced the number of days with tension-type headache and number of headache attacks from migraine than placebo (average standardised mean difference -1.29, 95% confidence interval -2.18 to -0.39 and -0.70, -0.93 to -0.48) but not compared with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (-0.80, -2.63 to 0.02 and -0.20, -0.60 to 0.19). The effect of tricyclics increased with longer duration of treatment (β=-0.11, 95% confidence interval -0.63 to -0.15; P<0.0005). Tricyclics were also more likely to reduce the intensity of headaches by at least 50% than either placebo (tension-type: relative risk 1.41, 95% confidence interval 1.02 to 1.89; migraine: 1.80, 1.24 to 2.62) or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (1.73, 1.34 to 2.22 and 1.72, 1.15 to 2.55). Tricyclics were more likely to cause adverse effects than placebo (1.53, 95% confidence interval 1.11 to 2.12) and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (2.22, 1.52 to 3.32), including dry mouth (P<0.0005 for both), drowsiness (P<0.0005 for both), and weight gain (P<0.001 for both), but did not increase dropout rates (placebo: 1.22, 0.83 to 1.80, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors: 1.16, 0.81 to 2.97).

Conclusions: Tricyclic antidepressants are effective in preventing migraine and tension-type headaches and are more effective than selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, although with greater adverse effects. The effectiveness of tricyclics seems to increase over time.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Fig 2 Effect of tricyclic antidepressants on burden of headache for tension-type and migraine headaches compared with placebo. Trials of mixed and migraine headaches are combined
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fig2: Fig 2 Effect of tricyclic antidepressants on burden of headache for tension-type and migraine headaches compared with placebo. Trials of mixed and migraine headaches are combined

Mentions: At baseline, participants with migraine averaged 4.7 headaches per month (95% confidence interval 4.3 to 5.1) and those with tension-type headaches 16.9 (15.8 to 18.0), with no difference between tricyclic and placebo groups (P=0.46). Tricyclics were more effective than placebo in reducing the burden from both tension-type headaches (average standardised mean difference −0.99, 95% confidence interval −1.66 to −0.32; 11 arms, I2=93.8%) and migraine headaches (−1.00, −1.52 to −0.48; 10 arms, I2=89.4%, fig 2). Tricyclics were equally efficacious between the two headache types. The studies combined yielded an overall average standardised mean difference for tricyclics of −0.96 (95% confidence interval −1.39 to −0.53, I2=90.1%). Therefore, regardless of the scale used to measure headaches, patients treated with a tricyclic experienced nearly 1 standard deviation of improvement, a clinically large effect. Efficacy did not differ among the different categories of tension-type headache (infrequent episodic v frequent episodic v chronic tension-type, P=0.39).


Tricyclic antidepressants and headaches: systematic review and meta-analysis.

Jackson JL, Shimeall W, Sessums L, Dezee KJ, Becher D, Diemer M, Berbano E, O'Malley PG - BMJ (2010)

Fig 2 Effect of tricyclic antidepressants on burden of headache for tension-type and migraine headaches compared with placebo. Trials of mixed and migraine headaches are combined
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License 1 - License 2
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2958257&req=5

fig2: Fig 2 Effect of tricyclic antidepressants on burden of headache for tension-type and migraine headaches compared with placebo. Trials of mixed and migraine headaches are combined
Mentions: At baseline, participants with migraine averaged 4.7 headaches per month (95% confidence interval 4.3 to 5.1) and those with tension-type headaches 16.9 (15.8 to 18.0), with no difference between tricyclic and placebo groups (P=0.46). Tricyclics were more effective than placebo in reducing the burden from both tension-type headaches (average standardised mean difference −0.99, 95% confidence interval −1.66 to −0.32; 11 arms, I2=93.8%) and migraine headaches (−1.00, −1.52 to −0.48; 10 arms, I2=89.4%, fig 2). Tricyclics were equally efficacious between the two headache types. The studies combined yielded an overall average standardised mean difference for tricyclics of −0.96 (95% confidence interval −1.39 to −0.53, I2=90.1%). Therefore, regardless of the scale used to measure headaches, patients treated with a tricyclic experienced nearly 1 standard deviation of improvement, a clinically large effect. Efficacy did not differ among the different categories of tension-type headache (infrequent episodic v frequent episodic v chronic tension-type, P=0.39).

Bottom Line: Tricyclics were more likely to cause adverse effects than placebo (1.53, 95% confidence interval 1.11 to 2.12) and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (2.22, 1.52 to 3.32), including dry mouth (P<0.0005 for both), drowsiness (P<0.0005 for both), and weight gain (P<0.001 for both), but did not increase dropout rates (placebo: 1.22, 0.83 to 1.80, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors: 1.16, 0.81 to 2.97).Tricyclic antidepressants are effective in preventing migraine and tension-type headaches and are more effective than selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, although with greater adverse effects.The effectiveness of tricyclics seems to increase over time.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: General Medicine Division, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, DC, USA. Jeffrey.jackson6@va.gov

ABSTRACT

Objective: To evaluate the efficacy and relative adverse effects of tricyclic antidepressants in the treatment of migraine, tension-type, and mixed headaches.

Design: Meta-analysis.

Data sources: Medline, Embase, the Cochrane Trials Registry, and PsycLIT. Studies reviewed Randomised trials of adults receiving tricyclics as only treatment for a minimum of four weeks.

Data extraction: Frequency of headaches (number of headache attacks for migraine and number of days with headache for tension-type headaches), intensity of headache, and headache index.

Results: 37 studies met the inclusion criteria. Tricyclics significantly reduced the number of days with tension-type headache and number of headache attacks from migraine than placebo (average standardised mean difference -1.29, 95% confidence interval -2.18 to -0.39 and -0.70, -0.93 to -0.48) but not compared with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (-0.80, -2.63 to 0.02 and -0.20, -0.60 to 0.19). The effect of tricyclics increased with longer duration of treatment (β=-0.11, 95% confidence interval -0.63 to -0.15; P<0.0005). Tricyclics were also more likely to reduce the intensity of headaches by at least 50% than either placebo (tension-type: relative risk 1.41, 95% confidence interval 1.02 to 1.89; migraine: 1.80, 1.24 to 2.62) or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (1.73, 1.34 to 2.22 and 1.72, 1.15 to 2.55). Tricyclics were more likely to cause adverse effects than placebo (1.53, 95% confidence interval 1.11 to 2.12) and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (2.22, 1.52 to 3.32), including dry mouth (P<0.0005 for both), drowsiness (P<0.0005 for both), and weight gain (P<0.001 for both), but did not increase dropout rates (placebo: 1.22, 0.83 to 1.80, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors: 1.16, 0.81 to 2.97).

Conclusions: Tricyclic antidepressants are effective in preventing migraine and tension-type headaches and are more effective than selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, although with greater adverse effects. The effectiveness of tricyclics seems to increase over time.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus