In a double-blind cross-over study maprotiline was compared with placebo in the treatment of chronic tension headache in 30 women aged 16 to 52 years with a history of headache for 1.5 to 20 years. The treatment periods were 6 weeks long and the daily dose of maprotiline increased in two weeks from 25 mg to 75 mg nocte. The effects of the treatment ware measured by visual linear analogue scale, verbal rating scale, number of days without headache, number of days needing additional analgesics, and the patients' global impression of the treatment periods. In all these parameters maprotiline was superior to placebo and the difference was statistically highly significant. Beck Depression Inventory scores improved slightly during both placebo and maprotiline but the improvements wars without statistical significance. Patients not or only slightly depressed according to BDI responded better to maprotiline than those more severely depressed. Side-effects ware frequent but mild and did not necessitate stopping the treatment.

The results suggest that maprotiline is effective and useful in the treatment of chronic tension headache.