The antidepressant amitriptyline is also used to prevent and help reduce
the frequency of migraines, says Dr. Vernon Williams, director of the
Kerlan-Jobe Center for Sports Neurology and Pain Medicine at Kerlan-Jobe
Orthopedic Clinic in Los Angeles. Some physicians prescribe it off-label
for people who have difficulty sleeping, too, he says. It can cause such
side effects as confusion, numbness, skin rash, nausea, blurred vision,
tingling in your arms and legs, headache, constipation and diarrhea. Research
suggests it can also cause weight gain and increased blood pressure, which
are risk factors for cardiovascular disease. It should be safe in low doses.
Gabapentin is an anti-epileptic medication, or an anticonvulsant. It’s
also approved by the FDA to treat neuropathic pain; for example, it can
be taken to treat the pain caused by herpes zoster lesions, or shingles,
Vernon Williams says. The medication is also used off-label to help stabilize
some people with mood disorders. Possible side effects include, rashes
and, in rare cases, thoughts of suicide, research has shown.
Some doctors prescribe the antidepressant Remeron on an off-label basis
to people who need to gain weight, Vernon Williams says. It prompts a
voracious appetite for carbohydrates in 20 to 30 percent of those who
take it. Whether it’s used for its FDA-approved purpose or as an
off-label treatment, the medication can cause dizziness and dry mouth.
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