Chronic Daily Headache Treatment

Chronic headache treatment is possible as there are a variety of preventive medications available. Here are the medications your doctor may recommend.


Antidepressants such as Amitriptyline (Aventyl), nortriptyline (Pamelor) and other tricyclic antidepressants are the most widely used treatments for all forms of these headaches. These medications are valuable because they also help treat depression, anxiety and sleep disturbances that often accompany chronic daily headache.

SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors)

There is also evidence that suggests other antidepressants such as the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may be effective in treating these headaches for some sufferers. SSRIs that have been used to treat this condition include fluoxetine, sertraline, paroxetine, nafazodone, veniafazine, citaloprom and escitalopram. These SSRIs can have adverse effects so, again, it is important you discuss these with your doctor.


While these drugs are most commonly used to treat high blood pressure, they are often helpful in treating episodic migraines. Beta-blockers used to treat chronic daily headache include atenolol (Tenormin), metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol), nadolol (Corgard), propranolol (Inderal) and timolol (Blocadren). In some cases these beta-blockers are prescribed in combination with antidepressants.

Anti-seizure drugs

Anticonvulsant drugs used in migraine prevention are also being used increasingly to treat this type of headache. Drugs in this category include divalproex (Depakote), gabapentin, (Neurontin) and topiramate (Topamax).

Muscle relaxers

While not always effective in the treatment of chronic daily headache, muscle relaxers such as tizanidine Zanaflex) have helped in some cases.

NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents)

Naproxen and other nonsteroidal and anti-inflammatory drugs may be effective in the treatment of these daily headaches, especially if you're undergoing withdrawal from some other pain relievers. Included in this group are naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox), ketoprofen (Orudis) and mefenamic acid (Ponstel)

Cox-2 inhibitors

While These drugs Are Similar to NSAIDs, they work differently and have fewer side effects. Medications such as Celebrex, Vioxx and Excedrine are most helpful in treating chronic daily headache when combined with other preventive medications. Typically, they are prescribed for one or two months if you are withdrawing from pain relief medications, to help decrease the frequency and severity of rebound headaches.


Botox is currently being researched as a possible for many of treatment for this type of daily headache. Injections of a local anesthetic around a nerve (nerve block) or injections of a numbing agent and corticosteroid at the point of pain are sometimes recommended for chronic daily headache.