Study: Prazosin Could Aid Headaches Caused by Traumatic Brain Injuries


The blood pressure drug could provide relief for veterans and service members suffering from traumatic brain injuries.

New study findings suggest that treatment with prazosin, a drug commonly used to treat high blood pressure, can also counteract posttraumatic headaches, according to a study by researchers at VA Puget Sound Health Care System.

"Persistent posttraumatic headaches are the most common long-term consequence of mild traumatic brain injuries (concussions) in veterans and active-duty service members, causing substantial distress and disability at home and work,” said senior study author Murray Raskind, MD, in a press release. “Although these headaches usually resemble migraine headaches symptomatically, they often fail to respond to the prevention treatments useful for migraines.”

Man with headache | Image credit: Prostock-studio -

Man with headache | Image credit: Prostock-studio -

According to the study, prazosin was previously approved to treat posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)-associated nightmares and enlarged prostate.

The researchers conducted a pilot study that included 48 veterans and service members. All the individuals reported having headaches caused by mild traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), also known as concussions.

“Participants took gradually increasing doses of prazosin for 5 weeks before receiving the maximum dose for 12 weeks. The study showed that the drug was well-tolerated, and researchers reported that morning drowsiness was the only adverse effect,” the authors said in the press release.

The participants reported that taking prazosin improved their quality of life since their headaches only have ‘some impact’ on their day to day lives. However, the participants who received a placebo reported that their headaches still had a ‘severe impact’ on their lives.

"This study is the only clinical trial of an oral medication to demonstrate efficacy for posttraumatic headache. Because prazosin is widely used across VA and the Department of Defense to treat PTSD trauma nightmares and sleep disruption, many VA and DOD prescribers are familiar with prescribing this generically available, inexpensive medication. Prazosin now offers an evidence-based approach to alleviate the suffering of Veterans and service members who have struggled for years with frequent posttraumatic headaches," Raskind said in the press release.

However, according to the study, a larger clinical trial is needed to confirm the results, but for now the findings create possible relief for veterans.


Blood pressure drug could prevent post-traumatic headaches. News Release. Science News. June 21, 2023. Accessed June 29, 2023.

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