Migraine Prevention and Fluvoxamine

July 13, 2008

Fluvoxamine belongs to a class of antidepressant drugs known as SSRIs. It is used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). The way fluvoxamine and other antidepressants work to prevent migraine is uncertain, but this type of drug is useful in a variety of painful states including headache. Fluvoxamine acts only on the neurotransmitter chemical serotonin and may reduce the frequency of migraine by regulating serotonin levels in the brain.

According to the U.S. Headache Consortium recommendations, fluvoxamine may be used to prevent migraine, based on expert consensus and clinical experience. However, evidence is lacking from clinical trials for the use of fluvoxamine for this condition. SSRI-type drugs, such as fluoxetine, have fewer side effects than TCA-type antidepressants and may be an option for people with mood disorders and migraine.

In a study in Hungary, amitriptyline (an antidepressant) and fluvoxamine were tested in 64 people with migraine. Amitriptyline significantly reduced the number of headache attacks, but caused severe drowsiness in many patients. Fluvoxamine also reduced the number of headache attacks but caused only slight side effects. These findings suggest that fluvoxamine may be a viable treatment alternative for migraine prevention.

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