Clinical Trial
Journal Article
Multicenter Study
Randomized Controlled Trial
Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
Add like
Add dislike
Add to saved papers

Management of chronic tension-type headache with tricyclic antidepressant medication, stress management therapy, and their combination: a randomized controlled trial.

JAMA 2001 May 3
CONTEXT: Chronic tension-type headaches are characterized by near-daily headaches and often are difficult to manage in primary practice. Behavioral and pharmacological therapies each appear modestly effective, but data are lacking on their separate and combined effects.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the clinical efficacy of behavioral and pharmacological therapies, singly and combined, for chronic tension-type headaches.

DESIGN AND SETTING: Randomized placebo-controlled trial conducted from August 1995 to January 1998 at 2 outpatient sites in Ohio.

PARTICIPANTS: Two hundred three adults (mean age, 37 years; 76% women) with diagnosis of chronic tension-type headaches (mean, 26 headache d/mo).

INTERVENTIONS: Participants were randomly assigned to receive tricyclic antidepressant (amitriptyline hydrochloride, up to 100 mg/d, or nortriptyline hydrochloride, up to 75 mg/d) medication (n = 53), placebo (n = 48), stress management (eg, relaxation, cognitive coping) therapy (3 sessions and 2 telephone contacts) plus placebo (n = 49), or stress management therapy plus antidepressant medication (n = 53).

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Monthly headache index scores calculated as the mean of pain ratings (0-10 scale) recorded by participants in a daily diary 4 times per day; number of days per month with at least moderate pain (pain rating >/=5), analgesic medication use, and Headache Disability Inventory scores, compared by intervention group.

RESULTS: Tricyclic antidepressant medication and stress management therapy each produced larger reductions in headache activity, analgesic medication use, and headache-related disability than placebo, but antidepressant medication yielded more rapid improvements in headache activity. Combined therapy was more likely to produce clinically significant (>/=50%) reductions in headache index scores (64% of participants) than antidepressant medication (38% of participants; P =.006), stress management therapy (35%; P =.003), or placebo (29%; P =.001). On other measures the combined therapy and its 2 component therapies produced similar outcomes.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicate that antidepressant medication and stress management therapy are each modestly effective in treating chronic tension-type headaches. Combined therapy may improve outcome relative to monotherapy.

Full text links

We have located links that may give you full text access.
Can't access the paper?
Try logging in through your university/institutional subscription. For a smoother one-click institutional access experience, please use our mobile app.

Related Resources

For the best experience, use the Read mobile app

Mobile app image

Get seemless 1-tap access through your institution/university

For the best experience, use the Read mobile app

All material on this website is protected by copyright, Copyright © 1994-2024 by WebMD LLC.
This website also contains material copyrighted by 3rd parties.

By using this service, you agree to our terms of use and privacy policy.

Your Privacy Choices Toggle icon

You can now claim free CME credits for this literature searchClaim now

Get seemless 1-tap access through your institution/university

For the best experience, use the Read mobile app