Is Celexa prescribed by physicians for a migraine headache?

Patient Expert


Susie wrote...


Can anyone tell me whether Celexa is prescribed by physicians for a migraine headache. I have a friend that is telling me that he takes for headaches only and not for depression. It is currently being administered daily in the evenings at 81 mg as the dosage?

He is currently trying to skip a day with the medication and says there have been no migraines in over two years.

Don't know that much about the drug, but know the individual taking it has had problems in the past with depression.

Thank you.


Dear Susie,

Celexa is not prescribed to be taken for a Migraine when the Migraine occurs. But, antidepressants, including Celexa, are often prescribed to be taken daily for Migraine and headache prevention. Unlike treatment for depression, there are no medications available that were developed for headache and Migraine prevention. All the meds prescribed for prevention are "hand-me-down" medications, prescribed off-label. (see Migraine preventive medications: too many options to give up!) He may have been prescribed 80 mg. Celexa is available in 10, 20, and 40 mg tablets. It's quite common for Migraineurs to be directed to take this kind of medication in the evening.

Something that many people don't yet understand is that Migraines are not actually headaches. Migraine is a genetic neurological disease characterized by "flares" or "attacks." One possible symptom of a Migraine attack is a headache, but there are many possible symptoms, and not everyone has a headache during a Migraine attack. There is evidence that Migraine may be a progressive disease, so Migraine prevention is very important.

He should not adjust his dosage or skip days without talking to his doctor. Since Celexa has a half-life of 35 hours, and he hasn't had a Migraine for so long, his doctor may have told him that he could reduce his dosage to every other day.

Does it really matter why your friend is taking Celexa? If he is taking it for depression, it may be that he doesn't want to discuss it. Some people are very private about depression. I suggest not questioning him on this. If he is indeed taking Celexa for Migraine prevention, he needs the support of his friends. If he's taking it for depression, and you question him, he may then be uncomfortable talking with you about it if a time comes when he does need support for depression.

Good luck,

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