Clomipramine and amitriptyline in the treatment of severe pain

Raphael L. Carasso, Shlomo Yehuda, Max Streifler

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68 Scopus citations


Clomipramine is the most potent 5-HT reuptake blockade agent among the antidepressants. A comparison between the effect of clomipramine and a less powerful 5-HT reuptake blockade agent (amitriptyline) could test the hypothesis that brain 5-HT is a mediator of pain sensation. Groups of patients of either sex, with pain indication of trigeminal neuralgia, tension headache or postherpatic neuralgia, received doses of clomipramine or amitriptyline in a single blind clinical experiment. The results after three months of treatment showed that clomipramine: (1) was better than amitriptyline in treating trigeminal neuralgia; (2) tended to be better in the treatment of tension headache; and (3) amitriptyline is better in treating postherpatic neuralgia. Clomipramine was better tolerated. The results support the hypothesis that in certain pain situations, clomipramine exerts a beneficial effect, not only because of its effect on the depression and anxiety level of the patient, but also via its effects on the 5-HT brain system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-194
Number of pages4
JournalInternational Journal of Neuroscience
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1979


  • Amitriptyline
  • Brain 5-HT
  • Clomipramine
  • Postherpatic neuralgia
  • Tension headache
  • Trigeminal neuralgia


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