Comparison between efficacy of imipramine and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation in the prophylaxis of chronic tension-type headache: a randomized controlled clinical trial

Sayed Ali Mousavi, Sayed Mohsen Mirboud, Fariborz Khorvash


  • BACKGROUND: Chronic tension-type headache (CTTH) is recognized as the most common type of headache and can be further defined as either episodic or chronic. Regarding the chronic nature of CTTH and intolerance or side effects of drugs that are used for treatment, other methods of treatment such as Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) has been used as a convenient and available method for treatment and prevention of CTTH. In the current study, we evaluated the efficacy of the imipramine versus TENS in the prevention of the CTTH as a prospective clinical trial.
  • METHODS: In this study, 138 patients with confirmed CTTH were randomized to be treated either with imipramine or TENS method. Sixty nine patients were treated with TENS and 69 cases were regarded as controls and were treated with imipramine. In the Imipramine group, treatment was performed by imipramine tablet, 25mg, twice daily. In the TENS group, patients were treated thrice weekly for ten weeks, each lasting 15 minutes in temporal and occipital regions.
  • RESULTS: Three months after treatment, both the TENS and imipramine significantly reduced the severity of tension headache (p < 0.05). However, imipramine was significantly more effective than TENS in reduction of the headache severity (p < 0.05).
  • DISCUSSION: It appears that TENS method may be a good alternative method for patients suffering from CTTH. To better evaluate the efficacy of this method in the prevention and treatment of CTTH, more studies are recommended.
  • KEYWORDS: Tension Headache, Treatment, Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation, Imipramine.


Tension, Headache , Treatment, TENS, Imipramin

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