Amitriptyline treatment in chronic drug-induced headache: a double-blind comparative pilot study.
Author(s): Descombes S, Brefel-Courbon C, Thalamas C, Albucher JF, Rascol O, Montastruc JL, Senard JM
Affiliation(s): Centre d'Investigation Clinique, Hopital Purpan, Purpan Cedex, France.
Publication date & source: 2001-02, Headache., 41(2):178-82.
Publication type: Clinical Trial; Randomized Controlled Trial
OBJECTIVE: To assess the effects of amitriptyline and sudden analgesic withdrawal on headache frequency and quality of life in patients suffering from chronic daily headache related to analgesics abuse. METHODS: Seventeen nondepressed patients with chronic drug-induced headache were included in a 9-week, parallel-group, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. After abrupt analgesic withdrawal, amitriptyline or an active placebo (trihexyphenidyl) was started. The primary efficacy variable was headache frequency recorded on a headache diary in the last 4 weeks of each treatment. The secondary efficacy variable was quality of life (Nottingham Health Profile). RESULTS: Headache frequency decreased by 45% in the amitriptyline group and by 28% in the trihexyphenidyl group. Amitriptyline enhanced all the dimensions of quality of life and significantly improved emotional reaction and social isolation. CONCLUSION: This pilot study suggests a beneficial effect of amitriptyline on headache frequency and quality of life for patients with chronic drug-induced headache.