How long does it take for imitrex to work?

What is sumatriptan?

Sumatriptan is a type of medicine called a serotonin (or 5HT) agonist, more commonly known as a ‘triptan’.

Sumatriptan is available as tablets, injection and nasal spray. Sumatriptan tablets and injection are available as the generic medicine.

Imigran is a well-known brand name for sumatriptan. Sumatriptan tablets can be brought from the pharmacy without a prescription.

What is sumatriptan used for?

Sumatriptan tablets, injection and nasal spray are used to relieve migraine attacks and cluster headaches.

How does sumatriptan work?

The cause of migraine attacks is not fully understood. It is thought to involve changes in the levels of chemicals in the brain. The throbbing pain of migraine headaches is a result of blood vessels in the brain widening or swelling.

Sumatriptan acts on serotonin (or 5HT) receptors that are found on blood vessels in the brain, causing them to narrow. It’s also thought to inhibit the action of the trigeminal nerve. These actions relieve the headache and other symptoms that you may get with your migraine, such as feeling sick or sensitivity to light or sound.

Read more about sumatriptan

  • How do I take sumatriptan?
  • Who shouldn’t use sumatriptan?
  • What are the possible side effects of sumatriptan?
  • Can I use sumatriptan with other medicines?

Last updated: 17.07.2019

Rita Ghelani (BPharm, MRPharmS) Pharmacist A UK registered practising pharmacist with over 20 years’ experience, Rita is a member of the medical journalists’ association (MJA) and has a wealth of experience in community pharmacy.

Everything You Need to Know About Triptans for Migraine Treatment

Researching migraine treatments can feel overwhelming. And the advice you hear can range from “sleep it off” to “drink coffee” to “try triptans.” So it’s not surprising that you might start to feel a little lost as you try to figure out what’s right for your migraines.

Or what’ll actually work when you’re in pain.

Or even how to pronounce some of the words you come across.

Don’t worry, you’re not alone—not when it comes to suffering from migraines (one in seven people worldwide experience migraine attacks) and not when it comes to finding a treatment plan that’ll give you more control over your condition.

In fact, Cove’s entire mission is to make it easier for migraine sufferers to get ongoing support and access to the care they need. And that’s why we’re breaking down the most common migraine treatments and explaining them to you in a language that actually makes sense.

Let’s begin with one of the more effective and well-known migraine treatments: triptans.

What are triptans?

Triptans are an FDA-approved prescription medication that help relieve migraine symptoms. They most commonly come in three forms: oral pills, nasal sprays, and shots. However, other forms, such as a suppository and a skin patch, do exist.

There are currently seven different triptan drugs prescribed in the United States:

  • eletriptan (generic Relpax®)
  • naratriptan(generic Amerge®)
  • sumatriptan (generic Imitrex®)
  • rizatriptan (generic Maxalt®)
  • zolmitriptan (generic Zomig®)
  • almotriptan (generic Axert®)
  • frovatriptan (generic Frova®)

Here at Cove, we currently prescribe oral triptans only (specifically eletriptan, naratriptan, sumatriptan, zolmitriptan, rizatriptan, and rizatriptan ODT, which dissolves in your mouth).

How do triptans work to provide migraine pain relief?

Before we jump into how triptans work, let’s quickly recap what doctors believe causes migraines: For unclear reasons, in patients with migraines, nerves fire throughout the brain in a wave called a cortical spreading depression. This leads to changes in your brain’s blood vessels and inflammation, which ultimately causes headache pain.

Triptans work to alleviate migraines through a variety of ways. These include constricting blood vessels in the brain, slowing down inflammation, and blocking pain pathways.

Think of your migraine as a toddler having a temper tantrum and the triptan as a parent soothing them (and reminding them how a brain is supposed to behave).

When do you take triptans?

Triptans are prescribed for acute migraine relief (a.k.a. pain relief), which simply means you take them when you start to feel a migraine attack coming on. The sooner you take them, the more likely they are to be effective.

How do you take triptans?

When it comes to oral triptans, you’ll want to grab a glass of water and swallow the tablet whole. They can be taken with or without food, so don’t worry about needing a snack.

In terms of timing, take them as soon as you feel a migraine headache coming on—the sooner you take them, the more effective they’ll be.

Most importantly, be sure to take them as prescribed.

How often do you take triptans?

You should start by taking one dose. If you’re still in pain after two hours, you can take a second dose.

Do triptans become less effective the more you take them?

You might’ve heard that taking too many triptans will eventually make them ineffective. While there’s no scientific evidence confirming that rumor, there is research that indicates that taking more than two to three triptans tablets a week could result in MOH (medication-overuse headaches). While the chances are low that this will happen—1-2% of patients—it’s best to keep your intake below three tablets per week.

In fact, doctors typically recommend that patients who experience more than two migraine attacks per week start taking preventative medication.

How long does it take a triptan to start working?

Many people start to feel results within two hours of taking their triptans, with some triptans, such as sumatriptan, working within 20-60 minutes.

We know that those two hours can feel especially long during a migraine episode, which is why we also recommend practicing self-care—whether that’s leaving work early and lying down in a dark room, drinking caffeine, or doing whatever it is that makes you feel better. (If you’re not sure what would make you feel better, or you need some fresh ideas, here’s a list of home remedies many migraine sufferers swear by.)

What do you do if you take a triptan and it doesn’t work?

If you wait two hours and your triptan’s still not working, you might have to use another acute treatment (like an NSAID) for that attack. You could also try heading to a dark, quiet room and using home remedies to help relieve the pain.

But don’t give up on that triptan altogether! Like many migraine medications, it can take a few tries to see if a triptan is going to work for you.

Tried the same triptan two or three times with no results? Speak to your doctor about trying a different triptan (there are seven options!). Yes, it might be tempting to conclude that triptans don’t work, but it’s possible that you just haven’t found the right one for you.

What other migraine treatments can be taken alongside triptans?

Studies have shown that taking a triptan and an NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) during a migraine attack can be a very effective combination for managing pain.

In addition, you can also take an anti-nausea medication, such as metoclopramide, to help with any nausea (from the triptan or from your migraine itself).

Lastly, if you experience several migraines a month, you might want to consider pairing triptans with a preventative treatment. Still, it’s best to take as few medications as possible in an effort to reduce side effects and cost. And it’s for this very reason that we recommend starting with one acute migraine treatment.

Which brings us to…

Who should take triptans?

Cove often recommends people who’ve only ever tried over-the-counter migraine remedies begin their treatment journey with triptan therapy (accompanied by an anti-nausea medication, if needed). We use the word journey on purpose: Everyone’s migraines are different, which means finding the best treatment plan for you might take time.

First triptan didn’t work? Don’t lose hope. We suggest trying at least two different triptans before ruling them out altogether. After all, despite all being in the same family, they’re each a little bit different.

Who shouldn’t take triptans?

While triptans are generally considered safe and effective, there are people who should consider other migraine treatments.

Namely:

  • People who’ve tried two or more triptans in the past without results. In that case, we recommend discussing both an alternate acute treatment, as well as a preventative treatment, with your doctor.
  • People who have or are at risk of having a stroke, heart disease, uncontrolled hypertension, or Prinzmetal’s angina.
  • People who are taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors, more commonly known as MAOIs. (This is only in certain situations, so make sure to let your physician know if you’re currently taking MAOIs.)
  • People who are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding.

While studies from The National Institute of Health have shown sumatriptans are safe for pregnant women and those who are breastfeeding, there’s not enough research on the effects of other triptans.

All this said, every person is different and we recommend speaking with your doctor about your specific needs as well as any questions. (We know, we know, you want all the answers now, but we’re committed to providing you with the best migraine care, and in this case, that means not making any claims we can’t stand by.)

Are there any side effects?

While triptans are generally considered safe, like many medications, there are potential side effects. These could include:

  • dizziness
  • hot or cold flashes
  • pressure in the chest
  • tingling
  • tiredness

While it’s exceedingly rare, there’s also risk of a stroke or cardiac symptoms. You should immediately contact your doctor if you experience signs of serious allergic reaction, dizziness, or difficulty breathing while taking these medications.

What triptans does Cove offer?

Cove currently offers five generic oral triptans for migraine headaches: eletriptan, naratriptan, sumatriptan, zolmitriptan, and rizatriptan, which is available as a standard tablet or an orally-dissolving tablet (ODT). We chose these triptans because they’re FDA-approved, fast-acting, and less likely to lead to side effects. Cove doctors usually prescribe sumatriptan first because it’s one of the most well-established and commonly used acute migraine therapies. If it doesn’t work, however, your doctor may choose another triptan that’s faster acting and potentially more effective—though this recommendation will, of course, depend on your personal medical history.

We know this is a lot of information on just one possible migraine treatment option. That’s why we work with licensed physicians to help each and every person find a treatment plan that works for them. If you’d like to speak to a Cove physician about your headaches, simply .

If you’d like to keep exploring your options, we recommend reading about other proven migraine treatments: NSAIDs for pain relief and beta blockers, anti-convulsants, and antidepressants for preventative care.

The information provided in this article is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely upon the content provided in this article for specific medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to your doctor.

Eletriptan, naratriptan, and zolmitriptan are oral medications indicated for the acute treatment of migraine with or without aura in adults and is not used to prevent migraines. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan on getting pregnant. You will need to talk about the benefits and risks of using this drug while you are pregnant. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding. Call your doctor right away if you have allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue, chest pain or chest tightness, signs and symptoms of a dangerous change in heartbeat or heart rhythm like chest pain; dizziness; fast, irregular heartbeat; palpitations; feeling faint or lightheaded; falls; breathing problems. Call your doctor right away if you have signs and symptoms of a stroke like changes in vision; confusion; trouble speaking or understanding; severe headaches; sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg; trouble walking; dizziness; loss of balance or coordination. Call your doctor right away if you have signs and symptoms of serotonin syndrome like irritable; confusion; diarrhea; fast or irregular heartbeat; muscle twitching; stiff muscles; trouble walking; sweating; high fever; seizures; chills; vomiting. You can read more about eletriptan’s side effects, warnings, and precautions here. Full prescribing information for eletriptan is available here. You can read more about naratriptan’s side effects, warnings, and precautions here. Full prescribing information for naratriptan is available here. You can read more about zolmitriptan’s side effects, warnings, and precautions here. Full prescribing information for zolmitriptan is available here. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit MedWatch: https://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch/default.htm or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Sumatriptan and rizatriptan are oral medications indicated for the acute treatment of migraine with or without aura in adults and not for the prophylactic therapy of migraine attacks or for the treatment of cluster headache. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan on getting pregnant. You will need to talk about the benefits and risks of using either of these drugs while you are pregnant. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding. Call your doctor right away if you have chest, throat, neck, or jaw tightness, pain, pressure, or heaviness; break out in a cold sweat; shortness of breath; a fast heartbeat; a heartbeat that does not feel normal; or very bad dizziness or passing out. Very bad and sometimes deadly brain blood vessel problems like stroke have rarely happened with this drug. Call your doctor right away if you have weakness on 1 side of the body, trouble speaking or thinking, change in balance, drooping on 1 side of the face, or change in eyesight. You can read more about sumatriptan’s side effects, warnings, and precautions here. Full prescribing information for sumatriptan is available here. You can read more about Rizatriptan side effects, warnings, and precautions here. Full prescribing information for rizatriptan is available here. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit MedWatch: https://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch/default.htm or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Photo by Roksolana Zasiadko on Unsplash.

I was addicted to my migraine trigger

After about 4 years of seeing the same neurologist, I decided to get a second opinion. In July 2017, I made an appointment at the UCSF headache center. I met a Dr. Morris Levin, and he assessed me very briefly. He asked me about my coffee drinking patterns. The coffee snob that I was, I told him about the delicious light roasts I had to have every morning. About 1 cup a day — that’s all. But it had to be at least 1 a day. I had been drinking coffee for about 15 years. Dr. Levin interrupted me and said, “I’ve heard enough. Stop the coffee immediately. That’s it. You don’t even need to schedule a follow up appointment. Good luck.” I told him that I had tried that before and I would get serious withdrawal headaches — so he suggested I wean off coffee gradually. I was dubious, I couldn’t function without coffee and there was just no way I wasn’t going to do it.

I had been a long time follower of Shane Parrish and the Farnam Street Blog and I finally got a chance to listen to this podcast with Naval. These words really stuck with me:

We also unconsciously pick up habits in the background and we keep them for decades. We may not realize that they’re bad for us until we’re ready to move on them. … What we do is we accumulate all these habits. We put them in the bundle of identity, ego, ourselves, and then we get attached to that. … It’s really important to be able to uncondition yourself, to be able to take your habits apart and say, “Oh, okay, that’s a habit that I probably picked up from when I was a toddler and I was trying to get my parents attention. Now I’ve just reinforced it and reinforced it and reinforced it and I call it a part of my identity. Is it serving me anymore? Is it making me happier? Is it making me healthier? Is it making me accomplish whatever I want to set out to accomplish right now?” … I did a lot of habit changes over the last few years. I’ve now got a daily workout that I do, which is a great habit. I cut down heavily on drinking. It’s not totally eliminated, but it’s mostly gone. I dropped caffeine. … You can untrain yourself. It’s just hard. It takes work. It takes effort. Usually the big habit changes comes when there’s strong desire-motivators attached to them.

After my daughter’s 4th birthday, I had decided to make a concerted effort to get healthier, both physically and mentally. With that commitment to myself and my family, with Dr. Levin’s suggestion, and Naval’s take on habits, I decided to, gradually but surely, quit coffee.

At this point, I was still getting about 3–4 migraines a week, but as I started going off of coffee, I noticed my frequency of migraines was declining. I used to get withdrawal headaches, but those were very different from the migraines, and very manageable. It took about 6 weeks to get off of coffee entirely. Finally in mid-September, I noticed my migraines had all but stopped. I was entirely off of any form of caffeine at this point. And coincidentally just around then my Topamax prescription had run out. I decided not to refill it.

Sumatriptan: 6 things you should know

5. Tips

  • Start treatment as soon as you develop migraine symptoms or symptoms that typically occur with a migraine (such as nausea, vomiting, or sensitivity to light).
  • A second dose may be administered if the migraine has not resolved within two hours of taking an initial dose of sumatriptan tablets, or if only a transient improvement in symptoms is noted. The second dose must be administered at least two hours after the first dose. Do not take more than 200mg of sumatriptan in a 24 hour period. See your doctor if you have more than four headaches in a 30-day period that require sumatriptan treatment.
  • If the initial sumatriptan dose has been given by injection, and the migraine returns, sumatriptan tablets may be administered at two-hour intervals up to a maximum cumulative tablet dose of 100mg/day.
  • Talk to your doctor if you have had more than four episodes of a migraine in a 30-day period for which you have taken sumatriptan for. Overuse of sumatriptan and other acute migraine drugs may lead to medication overuse headache (symptoms include daily headaches or a marked increase in migraine frequency).
  • Symptoms of a stroke or TIA may be easily mistaken for those of a migraine. A stroke tends to come on suddenly, whereas symptoms of a migraine with aura tend to evolve gradually over several minutes. The headache of a migraine also tends to intensify to a peak rather than instantaneously developing. Vision disturbances can be experienced during both a stroke or a migraine; however, other effects, such as flashing lights or zigzagging lines usually occur only with migraines. You may not realize your vision has been impaired with a stroke until you start bumping into things. It is rare for migraines to suddenly develop during adulthood; most people experience their first one in childhood. If you have any concerns at all that your symptoms may be those of a stroke, call 911 and seek immediate medical attention.
  • There is a risk of serotonin syndrome developing if too high a dosage of sumatriptan is used or other drugs are taken that also increase serotonin levels in the body. Symptoms include hallucinations, agitation, fast heartbeat, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and incoordination. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist before taking any other medication or herbal product that may interact with sumatriptan. If you develop symptoms suggestive of serotonin syndrome, discontinue sumatriptan and talk to your doctor straight away.
  • See your doctor if you experience any side effects of concern such as changes in the color or sensation in your fingers and toes, sudden or severe stomach pain, weight loss, bloody diarrhea, cramping, cold or hot feelings in parts of your body, hives or a swelling of your tongue, mouth or throat.
  • Either a migraine, or treatment for a migraine, may cause drowsiness. Do not drive or operate machinery or perform other hazardous tasks if a migraine or its treatments make you drowsy.
  • Do not drink alcohol if you have taken a dose of sumatriptan.

About sumatriptan

Type of medicine 5HT1-receptor agonist (also known as a ‘triptan’)
Used for Treatment of acute migraine attacks and cluster headaches
Also called Imigran®; Migraitan®
Available as Tablets, dispersible tablets, nasal spray and injection

In people with migraine, it is thought that some chemicals in the brain increase in activity and as a result parts of the brain then send out confused signals which result in the symptoms of headache and sickness. Why people with migraine should develop these chemical changes is not clear. Many migraine attacks occur for no apparent reason, but for some people there may be things which trigger an attack, like certain foods or drinks.

Cluster headaches consist of attacks of severe one-sided pain in the head. Typically, a number of attacks will occur over several weeks and then pass. It may then be weeks, months or years until the next cluster of headaches develops.

Sumatriptan belongs to a class of medicines known as 5HT1-receptor agonists. They are also known simply as triptans. Triptans work by stimulating the receptors of a natural substance in the brain, called serotonin (or 5HT). This eases the symptoms of migraine and cluster headaches.

There are two strengths of sumatriptan tablet available (50 mg and 100 mg), one strength of injection (6 mg/0.5 ml) and one strength of nasal spray (10 mg/actuation). The injection is usually prescribed for people with cluster headaches, whereas the injection, spray or tablets may be prescribed for people with migraines.

Before taking sumatriptan

Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking sumatriptan it is important that your doctor knows:

  • If you are aged over 65 years or under 18 years.
  • If you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
  • If you have a heart condition such as angina, or if you have had a heart attack.
  • If you have high blood pressure (hypertension).
  • If you have circulation problems.
  • If you have any problems with the way your liver works or with the way your kidneys work.
  • If you have ever had a stroke or a transient ischaemic attack (this is also referred to as a TIA, or ‘mini-stroke’).
  • If you have ever had a fit (seizure).
  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine. It is particularly important that you tell your doctor if you have had a bad reaction to a sulfonamide antibiotic (such as co-trimoxazole or sulfadiazine).
  • If you are taking or using any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, as well as herbal and complementary medicines.

How to take sumatriptan

  • Before you start this treatment, read the manufacturer’s printed information leaflet from inside the pack. It will give you more information about sumatriptan and a full list of the side-effects which you may experience from taking it. It will also provide you with a step-by-step guide and diagrams to show you how to use the preparation you have been supplied with. If you are still unsure what to do, ask your pharmacist for further advice.
  • Your dose will be on the label of the pack. Take sumatriptan exactly as your doctor tells you to.
  • If you are taking tablets: take one (50 mg or 100 mg) tablet with a drink of water, as soon as the headache phase develops. You can take Imigran Radis® tablets stirred into a small amount of water. If your migraine at first improves but then comes back, you may take a further dose, providing it is at least two hours after the initial dose. If the first tablet has no effect, do not try a second dose for the same attack, as it is unlikely to work.
  • If you are using the injection: inject one dose as soon as the headache develops. If your headache at first improves but then comes back, you may use one further dose, providing it is at least one hour after the initial dose. Do not use more than two doses in 24 hours. If the first dose has no effect, do not try a second dose for the same attack, as it is unlikely to work.
  • If you using the nasal spray: use the spray as soon as the headache phase develops. If your migraine at first improves but then comes back, you can use the spray again providing it is at least two hours after your first dose. Do not use the spray more than twice in 24 hours. If the first spray has no effect, do not try a second dose for the same attack, as it is unlikely to work.

Getting the most from your treatment

If you have migraines

  • Sumatriptan is used to treat headache pain during a migraine attack, not to stop the pain from coming on. You should wait until the migraine symptoms start to develop, rather than taking it when you feel that a migraine may be developing.
  • Do not take other migraine treatments (such as other triptans or ergotamine) at the same time as sumatriptan.
  • Some people may benefit from taking a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory painkiller (such as naproxen) in addition to sumatriptan. Your doctor will advise you about this if it is recommended for you.
  • If you find that sumatriptan does not relieve your migraine, make an appointment to discuss this with your doctor, as an alternative medicine may be more effective for you.
  • It may help to keep a migraine diary. Note down when and where each migraine attack started, what you were doing, and what you had eaten that day. A pattern may emerge and it may be possible for you to avoid some of the things that trigger your migraine attacks.
  • Sumatriptan is used to treat migraine attacks once the pain has started, but there are other medicines available that may help to reduce the number of migraine attacks. If you have migraines frequently, discuss this with your doctor.
  • Some people who get frequent migraine attacks are in fact getting medication-induced headache. Medication-induced headache (also called medication-overuse headache) is caused by taking painkillers or triptans too often. If you use sumatriptan or painkillers on more than two days a week on a regular basis, you may be at risk of this. You should talk to your doctor if you suspect it.

If you have cluster headaches

  • Sumatriptan is usually given by injection for cluster headache, as it provides pain relief in about 5-15 minutes in most people.
  • You will be shown how to use the injection. You should use it as soon as a headache occurs. The adult dose is one 6 mg injection for each headache. If you get more than one headache a day, the maximum dose you can have in 24 hours is two 6 mg injections. You must leave at least one hour between the two injections.
  • You may also be prescribed another medicine to try to prevent the headaches from occurring. Preventative treatment is often taken over the period of the cluster headaches and is then stopped, although some treatments are taken longer-term.

Can sumatriptan cause problems?

Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains some of the most common ones associated with sumatriptan. You will find a full list in the manufacturer’s information leaflet supplied with your medicine. The unwanted effects often improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following continue or become troublesome.

Common sumatriptan side-effects What can I do if I experience this?
Feeling dizzy, sleepy, or tired If this happens, do not drive and do not use tools or machines
Feeling sick (nausea) or being sick (vomiting) Stick to simple foods
Feelings ot tightness or heaviness, particularly in the throat or chest If the pain is intense, do not take any further doses and speak with your doctor about it as soon as possible
Tingling feelings, feeling flushed, feeling warm or cold, aches and pains, increased blood pressure, feeling short of breath If any of these become troublesome, speak with your doctor
Unpleasant or bitter taste (if using the nasal spray), and injection site reactions (if using the injection) These should soon pass

If you experience any other symptoms that you think may be due to the medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

How to store sumatriptan

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.

Important information about all medicines

Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.

This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.

If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are suitable to take with your other medicines.

If you are having an operation or any dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking.

Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.

If you have any questions about this medicine, ask your pharmacist.

Imitrex® (Sumatriptan Succinate)

Imitrex® (sumatriptan succinate) is a selective 5-HT1B/1D receptor agonist (triptan) indicated for the acute treatment of migraine, with or without aura, in adults who have a clear migraine diagnosis. It is taken by mouth for the relief of migraine severity, from moderate or severe pain to mild or no pain.

Imitrex generally works within 2 hours. It is intended to reduce acute migraine symptoms, as it will only treat a migraine that has already begun. It should not to be used as a prophylactic therapy to prevent the onset of migraine.

Overuse of acute migraine drugs can cause medication overuse headaches. Overuse is considered dosing on more than 10 days per month. Symptoms of overuse may need to be treated and detoxification from migraine medications may be required.

What are the ingredients in Imitrex?

The active ingredient in Imitrex is sumatriptan succinate.

How does Imitrex for migraine work?

Imitrex works by binding with 5-HT1B/1D receptors on blood vessels in the brain. It narrows the blood vessels (constriction) in the brainstem. It also reduces the inflammatory substances in the body that can trigger head pain, nausea, sensitivity to light and sensitivity to sound, and other migraine symptoms. Imitrex works best if it is taken as soon as migraine symptoms appear.

What are the possible side effects of Imitrex for migraine?

Many clinical trials evaluated the safety and efficacy of Imitrex. The most common side effects experienced by those taking Imitrex include:

  • Pain or tight feeling in the chest, throat, jaw, or neck
  • Feeling weak, drowsy, or tired
  • Pressure or heavy feeling in any part of your body
  • Numbness or tingling in the fingers and toes
  • Feeling hot or cold in the extremities

This is not an exhaustive list of all potential side effects of Imitrex. For more information, consult your doctor or healthcare provider. If you notice any new or worsening side effects when taking Imitrex, contact your doctor or healthcare provider immediately.

Things to note about Imitrex for migraine

Imitrex tablets come in 25 mg, 50 mg, and 100 mg. Before starting Imitrex talk with your doctor if you:

  • Have a history of hypersensitivity to sumatriptan succinate
  • Have a history of coronary artery disease (CAD), angina or heart attacks
  • Have a history of high blood pressure or high cholesterol
  • Have a history of hemiplegic or basilar migraine
  • Have a history of stroke, transient ischemic attacks (TIAs), or circulatory problems
  • Have a history of ischemic bowel disease
  • Are a female who has gone through menopause
  • Are a man over 40
  • Are overweight, smoke, or have diabetes
  • Have taken ergot-containing medication or other triptans within the 24 hours prior to migraine
  • Have taken a MAO-A inhibitor within 2 weeks prior to your migraine
  • Take anti-depressant medicines including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), or tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs)
  • Have severe hepatic (liver) impairment
  • Have severe renal (kidney) problems
  • Are pregnant or planning to get pregnant, as there is limited information on the use of Imitrex in pregnancy. It should be used only if the potential benefit of Imitrex therapy exceeds risk to the fetus.

Individuals with the above conditions should be monitored closely while taking Imitrex.

If there is no response to the first migraine attack treated with the Imitrex, a physician should reconsider the migraine diagnosis prior to using the medication in any subsequent attacks.

A cardiovascular evaluation should be performed on patients who have never taken a triptan medication but who have multiple cardiovascular risk factors (e.g., increased age, diabetes, hypertension, smoking, obesity, strong family history of CAD) before starting Imitrex. For those with a cardiac history, the first dose of Imitrex should be administered in a medically supervised setting and an electrocardiogram (ECG) should be performed immediately following the dose.

Dosing Information of Imitrex for migraine

Imitrex tablets are taken by mouth with water or other liquids. Imitrex tablets of all strengths come in 9-tablet blister packs and should be stored at room temperature.

A physician will determine the appropriate dose for each patient. If only partial migraine relief is attained or it returns quickly, a second dose may be taken 2 hours after the first. The maximum dosage in a 24-hour period is a total of 200 mg.

Keep track of when you have migraine and when you take Imitrex so you can monitor its effectiveness, and communicate with your doctor about how the medication is working for you.

Before taking Imitrex make sure to tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescription and nonprescription, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Imitrex and other medicines may affect each other, causing side effects.

Because Imitrex can cause dizziness, weakness, and drowsiness, do not drive a car, use machinery, or do anything requiring you to be fully alert when taking this medication.

For additional details, read the full prescribing information of Imitrex.

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