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Depression is a debilitating condition, affecting not only the individual experiencing it but also their relationships, work, and daily life. Amidst the different factors contributing to depression, pharmaceuticals play a significant role, as medications designed to alleviate one health concern may sometimes bring forth another.

Qulipta, an emerging medication used to manage migraines, has found its place in the medical world, but not without raising concerns about its potential impact on mood and mental well-being

This article will explore the potential relationship between Qulipta and depression, and suggest strategies to minimize the mood-related side effects of this medication. 

Before exploring whether Qulipta causes depression, let’s explore what depression actually is. 

Depression: Signs and Symptoms

Depression is a complex and pervasive mental health condition that can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, or background. It’s characterized by a range of signs and symptoms that collectively contribute to a significant change in an individual’s mood, behavior, and overall well-being.

Common signs and symptoms of depression include persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or emptiness. Those experiencing depression often lose interest in activities they once enjoyed and may have difficulty concentrating or making decisions. 

Changes in appetite and weight, as well as irregular sleep patterns, are typical. Physical symptoms can manifest as fatigue, aches, and pains. 

Depression can also lead to emotional and cognitive challenges, such as irritability, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, and recurrent thoughts of death or suicide.

What is Qulipta?

Qulipta is a newly approved medication for preventing migraines. It is a prescription-only medication and is available in three doses: 10 mg, 30 mg, and 60 mg. It works by blocking CGRP, a protein involved in activating migraine attacks. 

While Qulipta can provide significant relief for those suffering from frequent migraines, some patients are concerned about potential side effects like depression. CGRP inhibitors like Qulipta do come with a risk of mood changes, but the likelihood and severity depend on the individual. 

How Qulipta Works?

Qulipta contains the active molecule atogepant, which belongs to a new class of migraine drugs called CGRP inhibitors. CGRP (calcitonin gene-related peptide) is a protein released during migraine that dilates blood vessels and transmits pain signals. 

By blocking CGRP, Qulipta prevents this process from triggering migraine attacks. Qulipta is specifically indicated for preventing episodic migraines in adults, meaning those experiencing up to 14 migraine days per month. 

In clinical trials lasting three months, Qulipta demonstrated a notable reduction in the number of monthly migraine days.

Side Effects of Qulipta

Every medication, regardless of its intended purpose, comes with a list of potential side effects. Qulipta is no exception. Some of its side effects include the following.

1. Nausea: One of the most commonly reported side effects of Qulipta is nausea. Individuals taking this medication might experience varying degrees of queasiness, which can range from mild discomfort to more pronounced and persistent nausea

2. Constipation: Constipation is another side effect that has been associated with Qulipta. This can be a significant concern for those who already struggle with digestive issues or individuals with a history of constipation. 

3. Fatigue: Some individuals may experience increased tiredness while using this medication. If you find that your energy levels drop significantly, particularly after starting Qulipta, it is essential to discuss this with your healthcare provider. 

4. Dizziness: Dizziness is a side effect that can affect your balance and coordination. For individuals taking Qulipta, experiencing dizziness is not uncommon. It’s important to be cautious, especially when performing tasks that require focus and coordination, such as driving or operating heavy machinery. 

5. Changes in appetite: Changes in appetite and weight loss are side effects that some individuals may experience while taking Qulipta. These changes can be attributed to a variety of factors, including the impact of the medication on your body’s processes. 

6. Allergic reactions: Mild allergic reactions are also among the potential side effects of Qulipta. While these are typically rare, it’s crucial to be aware of the signs of an allergic reaction, which can include skin rash, itching, swelling, severe dizziness, or trouble breathing. 

The Controversy: Qulipta and Depression

Image Credit: verywellhealth.com

Qulipta is generally well-tolerated, but it can cause some side effects, such as the ones mentioned above. Depression is not listed as a known side effect of Qulipta, but there have been some reports of people developing depression while taking the medication.

It is important to note that these reports are anecdotal, and there is no evidence to suggest that Qulipta causes depression. However, it is possible that Qulipta could trigger depression in people who are already at risk for the condition.

People with migraine are at an increased risk of developing depression. This is likely due to a number of factors, including the chronic pain and disability associated with migraine, the stigma associated with the condition, and the side effects of migraine medications.

Another hypothesis is that preventing migraines and associated head pain actually improves mental well-being for most patients, countering any mood effects from CGRP blockade. In clinical studies, patients on CGRP inhibitors generally report improved quality of life. 

Ultimately whether to try Qulipta is an individual choice requiring careful consideration with your doctor. Have an open discussion about your headache history, previous depression or anxiety, family background, dosage required, and any other concerns. 

Stay attuned to your body and emotions while starting treatment. With collaborative monitoring and management, Qulipta can provide migraine relief for the right candidates while avoiding psychiatric side effects.

If you are taking Qulipta and you experience any symptoms of depression, such as feeling sad or hopeless, losing interest in activities you used to enjoy, or having changes in your sleep or appetite, it is important to talk to your doctor. 

They can help you determine whether or not your symptoms are related to Qulipta and recommend the best course of treatment.

Mitigating Potential Mood Changes

Patients starting Qulipta should be aware of the small risk of mood changes or depression. By incorporating the following practices into your life while using Qulipta for migraine management, you can not only effectively address your migraines but also prioritize your mental well-being.

1. Individualized Treatment Approach: 

Depression is a highly individualized condition, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to treatment. If your healthcare provider determines that your symptoms are related to Qulipta or any other underlying factor, they will work with you to develop a tailored treatment plan

This might involve adjusting your medication regimen, exploring therapy options, or suggesting lifestyle changes that can positively impact your mental health. The goal is to find a solution that addresses your specific needs.

2. Begin therapy cautiously: 

When prescribed Qulipta for migraine management, it’s crucial to follow your healthcare provider’s guidance meticulously. Start at the lowest effective dose, and if necessary, gradually increase it as per your healthcare provider’s instructions. 

Adhering to the prescribed dosing schedule is vital in ensuring the effectiveness of the medication and minimizing potential side effects.

3. Seeking Emotional Support: 

Coping with the possibility of depression symptoms can be challenging. It’s essential to seek social support from friends and family during this time. 

Talking to loved ones about your experiences can provide a sense of relief and reduce the isolation that often accompanies depression. Additionally, support groups and mental health professionals can offer valuable resources for individuals navigating mental health challenges.

4. Self-Care and Coping Strategies: 

Managing both migraines and mood involves comprehensive self-care. Prioritizing essential aspects of self-care, such as sleep, nutrition, stress management, and social connection, can significantly support your mental health. 

Adequate sleep and a balanced diet can help stabilize your mood, while effective stress management techniques, such as mindfulness or relaxation exercises, can provide relief during challenging times. 

5. Monitor mood changes: 

Migraine and mood often go hand in hand, and for those already at risk for depression, being mindful of any changes in mental health is essential. 

Keeping a migraine and mood diary can be tremendously beneficial. This diary allows you to track not only the frequency and severity of your migraines but also your emotional well-being.

6. Use migraine trackers: 

Migraine trackers are valuable tools for identifying potential triggers for your migraine episodes. These triggers can range from hormonal changes and dietary factors to weather patterns and sleep disturbances. 

Recognizing these triggers can help you take proactive measures to reduce the frequency and severity of migraines, subsequently supporting your overall mental health.

Support and Guidance with BetterHelp

BetterHelp offers a valuable resource for individuals experiencing the complex interplay of migraine management and mood disorders, such as depression. The platform connects users with licensed therapists who can provide specialized guidance on handling these challenges. 

Whether it’s the emotional toll of living with migraines or concerns about how your medication may affect your mood, BetterHelp’s network of mental health professionals can offer essential support. 

Users can conveniently communicate with their therapists through private messages, live chat sessions, or video calls, allowing for flexible and accessible care, even for those with demanding migraine-related schedules. 

This unique blend of professional assistance and convenience can be an invaluable tool for those navigating both migraine management and mood disorders, offering a platform to discuss concerns, seek guidance, and receive the therapeutic support they need.


Qulipta is a medication primarily prescribed for the management of migraines. While it has demonstrated efficacy in relieving the often debilitating symptoms of migraines, there is no substantial clinical evidence to suggest that Qulipta directly causes depression.

Through informed medical guidance, effective symptom monitoring, and holistic approaches to well-being, individuals can effectively manage their migraines without unnecessary concerns about this medication causing depression.


1. Is depression a common side effect of Qulipta?

No, depression is not a common side effect of Qulipta. However, there have been anecdotal reports of people experiencing depression while taking the medication. 

2. What should I do if I have a history of depression or a mood disorder and need to take Qulipta for my migraines?

If you have a history of depression or a mood disorder, it’s crucial to discuss this with your healthcare provider before starting Qulipta. They can help you weigh the potential benefits and risks and may recommend a monitoring plan or adjustments to your treatment.

3. Can I continue taking other medications for depression while using Qulipta for migraines?

Your healthcare provider will determine the most appropriate treatment plan for your specific situation. It’s essential not to alter your medications or dosages without their guidance. Maintaining open communication with your healthcare team is vital.

4. Are there any lifestyle changes that can help manage both migraines and mood while on Qulipta?

Yes, making lifestyle changes can significantly benefit your overall well-being. Prioritizing self-care through adequate sleep, a balanced diet, stress management, and maintaining social connections can help support your mental health. Using migraine trackers can also help identify potential triggers.

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  4. Can Depression Lead to Overeating
  5. Can You Have Delayed Postpartum Depression



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