Zoloft and Migraines

Clinical studies revealed several side effects of Zoloft, and migraines appear to be one of them. However, they were also reported in people taking a placebo. In addition, Zoloft can be used to prevent migraines, especially in people who also experience depression or anxiety. If you are taking Zoloft and migraines occur, your healthcare provider can recommend treatment options or may prescribe a different medication.

An Overview of Zoloft and Migraine Headaches

Zoloft® (sertraline hydrochloride) is a prescription medication used for treating depression and several types of anxiety disorders. As with most medicines, side effects are possible with Zoloft, and migraines appear to be one of them. This data comes from clinical trials where the drug was studied extensively and side effects were documented. Yet, in some people, Zoloft may be used to prevent migraines.

Understanding Migraines and Zoloft

A migraine headache is a severe, intense, throbbing pain felt on one, and sometimes both, sides of the head. The pain is mostly in the front around the temples or behind one eye or ear. Besides pain, other migraine symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. Migraine pain can last a few hours or up to one or two days.
Migraine research scientists do not know the specific cause of migraines, although they believe that overly sensitive blood vessels may play a role (see Migraine Causes).
Treatment options for migraine relief will depend on a number of factors, including their severity and frequency. For some people, over-the-counter medications, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or prescription nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be effective. For other people, however, stronger medications are needed.
For people who have migraines more than twice a week, their healthcare provider may recommend medications to help prevent migraines. While Zoloft is not specifically approved to prevent migraines, healthcare providers may prescribe it in certain situations. This is because, based on clinical experience, the drug has been shown to help prevent migraines, especially in people who also have depression or anxiety. Using Zoloft to prevent migraines is known as an off-label use.
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