Antianxiety medicines for tension headaches

If your tension headaches are triggered by anxiety, you may be treated with an antianxiety medicine, such as buspirone (BuSpar), to reduce anxiety and the frequency of tension headaches.

Antianxiety medicines relieve anxiety and nervousness and have a calming effect. In high doses, they may cause drowsiness and sleep. Buspirone reduces mild anxiety, irritability, fatigue, and pain. It is usually taken daily to relieve symptoms and is not addictive if it is used continuously.

Generally, side effects are mild and include:

  • Drowsiness.
  • Low blood pressure.
  • A general lack of interest in things (apathy).
  • Dizziness.
  • Forgetfulness.

Antianxiety medicines other than buspirone (such as alprazolam) may be tried, but they can become addictive. Buspirone is not habit-forming and may be used for longer periods of time.

Other Works Consulted

  • Evans RW (2003). Migraine. In Saunders Manual of Neurologic Practice, chap. 11, pp. 421–430. Philadelphia: Saunders.

Last Updated: July 22, 2009

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