Imitrex is a brand-name prescription medication. It’s FDA-approved to treat migraine with or without aura. The injection form of Imitrex (see “Drug details” below) is also approved to treat cluster headaches.

Imitrex is approved for use in adults who have had these conditions diagnosed by a doctor. Imitrex isn’t used to prevent either migraine or cluster headaches.

Migraine causes a severe, throbbing headache that can last several hours, sometimes days. It’s typically accompanied by nausea and sensitivity to light and sound. Some people also have a sensory aura before or during the headache. Auras can include symptoms such as seeing blind spots, zigzags, or flashes of light. They may also cause tingling sensations or problems with speech.

Cluster headaches are intense headaches that come on suddenly. They last for about an hour and occur several times a day. The pain typically starts around the eye and spreads over one side of the head.

Drug details

Imitrex belongs to a class of drugs called serotonin agonists. These are more commonly known as triptans. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way.

Imitrex contains the active drug sumatriptan. It works by narrowing swollen blood vessels in your brain, which helps relieve the pain of migraine and cluster headaches.

Imitrex comes in the following forms and strengths:

  • tablet (25 mg, 50 mg, and 100 mg strengths)
  • single-dose nasal spray (5 mg and 20 mg strengths)
  • single-dose prefilled syringe cartridge (4 mg and 6 mg strengths) for use in an Imitrex STATdose injection pen
  • single-dose vial of liquid solution (6 mg strength) for use with a syringe

You should only take Imitrex if you get a migraine or cluster headache. It’s not known if it’s safe to use this drug to treat more than four headaches per month (30 days).

Effectiveness

To learn about Imitrex’s effectiveness, see the “Imitrex uses” section below.

Imitrex is available as a generic drug called sumatriptan. A generic drug is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication. The generic is considered to be as safe and effective as the original drug. Generics tend to cost less than brand-name drugs.

Other brand-name versions of sumatriptan are also available. These include Tosymra, Onzetra Xsail, and Zembrace SymTouch.

In some cases, the brand-name drug and the generic version may come in different forms and strengths.

Imitrex can cause mild or serious side effects. The following lists contain some of the key side effects that may occur while taking Imitrex. These lists don’t include all possible side effects.

For more information on the possible side effects of Imitrex, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can give you tips on how to deal with any side effects that may be bothersome.

Note: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tracks side effects of drugs it has approved. If you would like to report to the FDA a side effect you’ve had with Imitrex, you can do so through MedWatch.

Mild side effects

Mild side effects of Imitrex can include:*

  • dizziness
  • feeling weak
  • feeling unusually warm or cold
  • tingling or numbness in your fingers or toes
  • vomiting
  • irritation in your nose or throat, such as burning, tingling, pain, or numbness (with the nasal spray)
  • unpleasant taste in your mouth (with the nasal spray)
  • injection site reactions, such as pain, stinging, redness, or swelling (with the injection)
  • sleepiness†
  • nausea†
  • pain, pressure, or tightness in your chest, throat, neck, or jaw†

Most of these side effects go away within a few hours or days. But if they become more severe or don’t go away, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

* This is a partial list of mild side effects from Imitrex. To learn about other mild side effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist, or see the patient information for the form of Imitrex you’re taking: Imitrex tablets, Imitrex nasal spray, or Imitrex injection (with either a syringe or injection pen).
† For more information on these side effects, see “Side effect details” below.

Serious side effects

Serious side effects from Imitrex aren’t common, but they can occur. Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 or your local emergency phone number if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.

Serious side effects and their symptoms can include:

  • Serious heart problems, such as heart attack. Symptoms can include:
    • severe pain, pressure, or tightness in your chest, arm, throat, neck, or jaw
    • shortness of breath
    • nausea or vomiting
    • dizziness
  • Irregular heartbeat. Symptoms can include:
    • feeling that your heart is pounding, racing, or skipping a beat
    • chest pain
    • dizziness
    • fainting
  • Stroke or bleeding in the brain. Symptoms may vary but can include:
    • drooping on one side of the face
    • sudden weakness or numbness on one side of the body
    • slurred speech or trouble speaking
  • Problems with blood circulation, such as Raynaud’s disease (lack of blood flow to your nose, ears, fingers, or toes). Symptoms may vary but can include:
    • white, blue, or purple fingers and toes
    • numb fingers and toes
    • cramping or pain in your legs
    • weakness, tingling, or numbness in your legs
  • Reduced blood flow to your stomach or intestines. Symptoms can include:
    • sudden or severe belly pain
    • bloody diarrhea
    • constipation
    • nausea and vomiting
    • fever
    • weight loss
  • Serotonin syndrome (a dangerous condition caused by high levels of serotonin in your body). Symptoms can include:
    • sweating
    • tight muscles
    • loss of coordination
    • feeling agitated or restless
  • Very high blood pressure. Symptoms can include:
    • severe headache
    • chest pain
    • confusion
    • blurred vision
    • shortness of breath
  • Seizures. Symptoms can include:
    • drooling
    • sudden, rapid eye movements
    • loss of bowel or bladder control
    • loss of consciousness (not being able to respond to sound or touch)
  • Allergic reaction.*
  • Medication overuse headache,* also called a rebound headache.

* For more information on these side effects, see “Side effect details” below.

Side effect details

You may wonder how often certain side effects occur with this drug. Here’s some detail on several of the side effects this drug may cause.

Allergic reaction

As with most drugs, some people can have an allergic reaction after taking Imitrex. It’s not known how often this occurs. Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction can include:

  • skin rash
  • itchiness
  • flushing (warmth and redness in your skin)

A more severe allergic reaction is rare but possible. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction can include:

  • swelling under your skin, typically in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet
  • swelling of your tongue, mouth, or throat
  • trouble breathing

Call your doctor right away if you have a severe allergic reaction to Imitrex. Call 911 or your local emergency phone number if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.

Feeling sleepy

Taking Imitrex can make some people feel sleepy. In clinical studies:

  • 3% of people who took Imitrex injection felt sleepy
  • 2% of people who took a placebo (a treatment with no active drug) felt sleepy

It’s not known how often sleepiness occurs with the Imitrex tablets or nasal spray.

Along with sleepiness, Imitrex can also cause weakness and dizziness in some people. These side effects, as well as the migraine or cluster headache itself, can make it dangerous to drive or operate machinery. If you have these side effects, avoid driving and using machinery until you feel recovered enough to do so safely.

If you’re concerned about feeling sleepy while taking Imitrex, talk with your doctor.

Injection side effects

The most common side effects associated with the Imitrex injection are reactions at the injection site.

In clinical studies:

  • 59% of people who used the Imitrex injection had a reaction at their injection site
  • 24% of people who used a placebo (a treatment containing no active drug) had a reaction at their injection site

Injection site reactions may include pain, stinging, burning, swelling, redness, bruising, or bleeding where you have the injection. If you have pain, stinging, burning, or bleeding, this should only last for a short time after you have the injection. Bruising or swelling is usually mild and should go away in a few days.

If you have an injection site reaction that makes your skin especially sore or swollen, or lasts longer than a few days, see your doctor.

You should rotate your injection site each time you use the Imitrex injection. This will help avoid making any injection site reactions worse.

Other than injection site reactions, side effects with the Imitrex injection are similar to side effects with other forms of Imitrex.

Weight loss

Weight loss isn’t a direct side effect of Imitrex. However, it can be a symptom of reduced blood flow to your stomach or intestines, which is a serious side effect of Imitrex. It’s not known how often this side effect occurs with Imitrex.

Besides weight loss, other symptoms of reduced blood flow to your stomach or intestine can include:

  • sudden or severe belly pain
  • bloody diarrhea
  • constipation
  • nausea and vomiting
  • fever

See your doctor right away if you have unexplained weight loss or any of these other symptoms after taking Imitrex.

Rebound headache

Taking medication to treat headaches too often can lead to medication overuse headache, also called rebound headache. This occurs when you have migraine attacks or cluster headaches every day, or more often than usual.

Taking pain relievers of any kind on 10 or more days per month can lead to medication overuse headache. And taking too much Imitrex, or taking it too often, can also cause this problem.

You shouldn’t take more than the recommended dosage of Imitrex. (See the “Imitrex dosage” section below to learn more.) And keep in mind that it’s not known if it’s safe to take Imitrex to treat more than four headaches in any 30-day period.

It’s a good idea to keep a headache diary to make sure you’re not making your headaches worse by taking medication too often. Record when you have migraine or cluster headaches, how you treat them, and if the treatment worked.

If your migraine or cluster headaches get worse, or happen more often than usual, talk with your doctor about ways to prevent them. Also talk with your doctor if you’re using Imitrex to treat more than four headaches a month.

Pain in the chest, jaw, or neck

You may feel pain, pressure, tightness, or heaviness in your chest, neck, or jaw after taking a dose of Imitrex. These sensations can feel intense, but they typically improve quickly.

In clinical studies:

  • up to 3% of people who took Imitrex tablets had these sensations
  • 2% to 7% of people who received Imitrex injections had these sensations
  • up to 2% of people who took a placebo (a treatment containing no active drug) had these sensations

It’s not known how often these sensations occurred in people who used the Imitrex nasal spray.

Talk with your doctor if you have pain, pressure, tightness, or heaviness in your chest, neck, or jaw after taking Imitrex. They can suggest ways to help you feel better, such as lowering your dosage or switching medications.

On rare occasions, these sensations could be symptoms of heart problems, such as a heart attack. It’s not known how often pain, pressure, tightness, or heaviness in the chest, neck, or jaw were symptoms of a heart attack in people taking Imitrex.

Call 911 or your local emergency phone number if you experience:

  • pain, pressure, tightness, or heaviness in your chest, arm, neck, or jaw that’s severe or doesn’t go away in a few minutes
  • trouble breathing
  • dizziness
  • cold sweat

Nausea

Nausea is a common symptom of migraine. Some people find that taking Imitrex helps reduce the nausea that they have with their migraine, as well relieving the headache. But some people may have nausea as a side effect of taking Imitrex.

In clinical studies, people who used the Imitrex nasal spray had slightly more nausea than those who used a placebo (a treatment containing no active drug). This could be because the Imitrex nasal spray can cause an unpleasant taste in your mouth.

In these studies:

  • 11% to 13.5% of people who used Imitrex nasal spray experienced nausea and vomiting
  • 11.3% of people who used a placebo experienced nausea and vomiting

If you have nausea with Imitrex, talk with your doctor. They may be able to suggest ways to relieve this side effect.

The Imitrex dosage your doctor prescribes will depend on several factors. These include:

  • the type and severity of the condition you’re using Imitrex to treat
  • the form of Imitrex you take
  • other medical conditions you may have

Typically, your doctor will start you on a low dosage. Then they’ll adjust it over time to reach the amount that’s right for you. Your doctor will ultimately prescribe the smallest dosage that provides the desired effect.

The following information describes dosages that are commonly used or recommended. However, be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. Your doctor will determine the best dosage to fit your needs.

Note: Imitrex isn’t meant to be taken every day. You should only take it if you get a migraine or cluster headache. It’s not known if it’s safe to use Imitrex to treat more than four headaches per month (30 days).

Drug forms and strengths

Imitrex comes in the forms and strengths below.

Imitrex tablet: 25 mg, 50 mg, and 100 mg

Imitrex tablets are available in strengths of 25 milligrams (mg), 50 mg, and 100 mg. The tablets are taken by mouth.

Imitrex nasal spray: 5 mg and 20 mg

The Imitrex nasal spray comes in strengths of 5 mg and 20 mg. The nasal spray device contains a single dose that you spray into one nostril only.

Imitrex STATdose pen: 4 mg and 6 mg

The Imitrex STATdose pen is a reusable autoinjector pen that’s used to give an injection from a single-dose prefilled syringe cartridge. Cartridges for the pen come in strengths of 4 mg and 6 mg.

Imitrex vial: 6 mg

The Imitrex vial is available in a strength of 6 mg. It contains a single dose of liquid solution for use with a syringe.

Dosage for migraine

When treating migraine, your dosage will depend on the form of Imitrex you use.

Oral dosage

To treat migraine with Imitrex tablets taken by mouth, your doctor may prescribe a dose of 25 mg, 50 mg, or 100 mg.

If your first dose doesn’t fully relieve your migraine, or your migraine comes back, you can take a second dose. The second dose should be taken at least 2 hours after your first dose. Imitrex tablets may also be used if your migraine returns after an initial Imitrex injection.

If your migraine doesn’t improve at all with your first dose, don’t take a second dose without talking with your doctor first.

Don’t take more than 200 mg of Imitrex tablets in 24 hours. If you’re taking Imitrex tablets after an Imitrex injection, don’t take more than 100 mg in 24 hours.

Nasal spray dosage

To treat migraine with Imitrex nasal spray, your doctor may prescribe a dose of 5 mg, 10 mg, or 20 mg. To take a dose of 10 mg, you’ll use two 5 mg sprays (one in each nostril).

If your first dose doesn’t fully relieve your migraine, or your migraine comes back, you can take a second dose. The second dose should be taken at least 2 hours after your first dose.

If your migraine doesn’t improve at all with your first dose, don’t take a second dose without talking with your doctor first.

Don’t take more than 40 mg of Imitrex nasal spray in 24 hours.

Injection dosage

To treat a migraine attack, your doctor may prescribe a dose of 1 mg to 6 mg of Imitrex given by subcutaneous injection. (This is an injection under the skin.)

The Imitrex STATdose pen can only be used to give a dose of 4 mg or 6 mg. Other doses will need to be given by syringe using liquid solution from a vial.

If your first dose doesn’t fully relieve your migraine, or your migraine comes back, you can take a second dose. The second dose should be taken at least 1 hour after your first dose.

If your migraine doesn’t improve at all with your first dose, don’t take a second dose without talking with your doctor first.

Don’t take more than 12 mg of Imitrex given by injection within 24 hours.

(Imitrex tablets may also be used if your migraine returns after an initial Imitrex injection. If you’re taking Imitrex tablets after an Imitrex injection, don’t take more than 100 mg in 24 hours.)

Dosage for cluster headaches

Only the Imitrex injection is used to treat cluster headaches. The recommended dosage for this use is 6 mg, given by subcutaneous injection. The dose may be taken using the liquid solution in a vial or the Imitrex STATdose pen.

If your first dose doesn’t fully relieve your headache, or your headache comes back, you can take a second dose. The second dose should be taken at least 1 hour after your first dose.

If your headache doesn’t improve at all with your first dose, don’t take a second dose without talking with your doctor first.

Don’t take more than 12 mg of Imitrex given by injection within 24 hours.

How often can you take Imitrex?

You can take Imitrex to treat up to four migraine or cluster headaches a month. This could mean taking Imitrex 4 days in a row or spread out throughout the month. It’s not known if it’s safe to take Imitrex to treat more than four headaches in any 30-day period.

Taking medication to treat headaches too often can actually make your headaches worse. It can lead to medication overuse headache, which is also called rebound headache. This occurs when you get headaches more often than usual from taking your medication too often. (See “Side effect details” to learn more.)

If you have frequent migraine attacks or cluster headaches, talk with your doctor about ways to prevent them.

Will I need to use this drug long term?

Imitrex isn’t meant to be used as a long-term treatment. It doesn’t prevent migraine or cluster headaches. If you and your doctor determine that Imitrex works for your migraines or cluster headaches, you’ll only take it when you get an attack.

If you have migraine attacks or cluster headaches more than four times a month, talk with your doctor about ways to prevent them.

Imitrex is FDA-approved to treat migraine. The Imitrex injection is also FDA-approved to treat cluster headaches.

What happens with migraine and cluster headaches

Migraine causes a severe, throbbing headache that can last several hours or even days. It’s typically accompanied by nausea and sensitivity to light and sound. Some people also have a sensory aura before or during the headache.

Cluster headaches are intense headaches that come on suddenly. They last for about an hour and occur several times a day. The pain typically starts around the eye and spreads over one side of the head. Cluster headaches happen over a few days, weeks or months, and are usually followed by periods without headaches.

Migraine and cluster headaches are more than just severe headaches. They are neurological conditions that affect certain blood vessels and nerves in the brain. It’s not fully understood what causes them. However, with both conditions, headaches happen due to widening or swelling of blood vessels in the brain.

What Imitrex does

Imitrex belongs to a class of drugs called serotonin agonists. These are more commonly known as triptans. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way.

Triptans like Imitrex work by stimulating serotonin receptors (docking stations) found on blood vessels in the brain. This causes these blood vessels to narrow, which helps relieve the migraine or cluster headache. Imitrex may also block activity in the trigeminal nerve. This is the nerve that allows you to feel sensation in your head and face.

Imitrex also relieves symptoms associated with migraine, such as nausea and sensitivity to light and sound.

How long does it take for Imitrex to work?

How long it takes Imitrex to start working depends on the form you take. However, most people find their migraine or cluster headache is much improved within 2 hours of taking a dose.

Imitrex tablets typically start to work within 30 minutes, while the nasal spray can start to work in about 15 minutes. Both forms can take up to 2 hours to have their full effect.

The Imitrex injection can start working within 5 to 10 minutes. It usually reaches its full effect within 1 hour.

How long does Imitrex stay in your system?

Imitrex will work for a few hours after you take a dose. However, its effect will gradually lessen as the drug is broken down by your body. It can take about 10 to 12 hours before Imitrex is fully out of your system.

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about Imitrex.

Is Imitrex a narcotic? Is it an NSAID?

No, Imitrex isn’t a narcotic or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID).

Narcotics are strong, opioid-based pain relievers, such as morphine. NSAIDs are pain relievers, such as ibuprofen, that reduce inflammation (swelling).

Imitrex is a type of drug called a triptan. It narrows swollen blood vessels in the brain. Unlike narcotics and NSAIDs, it only relieves the pain associated with migraine or cluster headaches. It doesn’t work for other types of pain.

Is Imitrex a controlled substance?

No, Imitrex isn’t a controlled substance.

Controlled substances are drugs that have a high potential for being misused. They also have a high risk for people becoming dependent on the drug. (This means your body needs the drug to feel normal.)

Because of these risks, there are special rules around how controlled substances are prescribed and dispensed. Imitrex doesn’t have these risks or these regulations.

Can Imitrex be addictive?

No. With addiction, you have cravings for a drug, typically because it produces a “rewarding” effect. This doesn’t happen with Imitrex.

However, if you take Imitrex too often, it can lead to medication overuse headache. This is also called a rebound headache. (See “Side effect details” to learn more.)

A medication overuse headache occurs when taking too much Imitrex causes you to get migraine or cluster headaches every day, or more often than usual. It can lead to a cycle of taking extra Imitrex to relieve these headaches, which in turn causes more headaches. However, this isn’t the same as addiction.

It’s not known if it’s safe to use Imitrex to treat more than four headaches per month. Talk with your doctor if you find you need to take it more often than that. Your doctor can help you break the cycle of medication overuse. They may also recommend ways to help prevent migraine.

Does Imitrex thin your blood?

No, Imitrex doesn’t thin your blood. It works by narrowing blood vessels in your brain.

Some people may find that blood thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin) help relieve their migraines. However, there aren’t enough studies to support this usage. Blood thinners aren’t FDA-approved to treat migraines.

For more information on how Imitrex works in your body, see the “How Imitrex works” section.

Could Imitrex make my migraine or cluster headache worse?

It’s unlikely, if you take Imitrex as prescribed by your doctor. However, taking too much Imitrex or taking it too often could make your headaches worse. This can lead to medication overuse (rebound) headaches. When this occurs, you get migraine or cluster headaches every day, or more often than usual. (See “Side effect details” to learn more.)

Talk with your doctor if you get frequent migraine or cluster headaches, or if you’re concerned that Imitrex is making your condition worse.

In rare cases, taking Imitrex can cause serious side effects that could seem like your migraine or cluster headache is getting worse. These serious side effects include bleeding in your brain and very high blood pressure.

If your headache gets worse after taking a dose of Imitrex, call your doctor right away. Call 911 or your local emergency phone number if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.

Can I take Imitrex before surgery?

You should check with your doctor about taking Imitrex before surgery. Imitrex works by narrowing your blood vessels, and it can sometimes cause changes to your blood pressure. This could be dangerous during surgery.

Talk with your doctor if you have a surgery scheduled. They can tell you if you should stop taking Imitrex in the days before the surgery.

You may take Imitrex with certain other drugs to treat or prevent migraine or cluster headaches. However, you should only take Imitrex with other drugs if your doctor recommends it.

For example, if Imitrex doesn’t fully relieve your headache, your doctor may recommend taking certain other pain medications. These may include:

  • over-the-counter pain relievers, such as:
    • acetaminophen (Tylenol)
    • acetaminophen/aspirin/caffeine (Excedrin Migraine)
  • prescription pain relievers, such as:
    • butalbital/acetaminophen/caffeine (Fioricet)
    • butalbital/aspirin/caffeine (Fiorinal)
    • acetaminophen/caffeine/dihydrocodeine (Trezix)
    • acetaminophen/codeine (Tylenol with codeine)
    • ketorolac
    • diclofenac

Taking pain relievers of any kind too often can lead to medication overuse headache.This occurs when you have migraines or cluster headaches every day, or more often than usual. If you use pain relievers to treat migraine or cluster headaches 10 or more days a month, talk with your doctor.

If you have nausea with your migraine, your doctor may recommend taking nausea medications, such as:

  • metoclopramide (Reglan)
  • promethazine (Phenergan)
  • ondansetron (Zofran)

If you get frequent migraine or cluster headaches, your doctor may prescribe medication that you take on a regular basis to help prevent headaches. Imitrex is used to treat migraine or cluster headache, but it doesn’t prevent these conditions.

You can still take Imitrex to treat a migraine or cluster headaches while you’re taking a preventive medication. Examples of medications you may take to prevent migraine or cluster headaches include:

Imitrex is a type of drug called a triptan that’s used to treat migraine or cluster headache.

Other drugs are available that can treat your condition. Some may be a better fit for you than others. If you’re interested in finding an alternative to Imitrex, talk with your doctor. They can tell you about other medications that may work well for you.

Note: Some of the drugs listed here are used off-label to treat these specific conditions. Off-label use is when a drug that’s approved to treat one condition is used to treat a different condition.

Alternatives for migraine

Examples of other drugs that may be used to treat migraine attacks include:

  • lasmiditan (Reyvow)
  • ubrogepant (Ubrelvy)
  • other triptan medications, such as:
    • almotriptan (Axert)
    • frovatriptan (Frova)
    • naratriptan (Amerge)
    • rizatriptan (Maxalt)
    • sumatriptan (Tosymra, Onzetra Xsail, Zembrace SymTouch)
    • zolmitriptan (Zomig)
  • ergot drugs, such as:
    • dihydroergotamine (Migranal)
    • ergotamine tartrate (Ergomar)
    • ergotamine/caffeine (Cafergot)
  • anti-inflammatory medications, such as:
    • ketorolac
  • pain medications, such as:
    • acetaminophen/aspirin/caffeine (Excedrin Migraine)
    • acetaminophen (Tylenol)
    • butalbital/acetaminophen/caffeine (Fioricet)
    • butalbital/aspirin/caffeine (Fiorinal)

Alternatives for cluster headaches

Examples of other drugs that may be used to treat cluster headaches include:

  • dihydroergotamine (Migranal)
  • octreotide (Sandostatin)
  • lidocaine (Xylocaine)

You may wonder how Imitrex compares with other medications that are prescribed for similar uses. Here we look at how Imitrex and Maxalt are alike and different.

Ingredients

Imitrex contains sumatriptan, while Maxalt contains rizatriptan.

Uses

Imitrex and Maxalt are both FDA-approved to treat migraine with or without aura in adults. Maxalt can also be used in children ages 6 to 17 years.

The Imitrex injection is also approved to treat cluster headaches in adults.

Neither drug should be used to prevent migraine or cluster headaches. In addition, these medications shouldn’t be used to treat hemiplegic migraine or basilar migraine.

Drug forms and administration

Imitrex comes in the following forms:

  • tablet that you swallow
  • nasal spray
  • single-dose vial of liquid solution for use with a syringe
  • single-dose prefilled syringe cartridge for use with an Imitrex STATdose pen

Maxalt comes as a tablet that you swallow. It also comes as a tablet that dissolves on your tongue, called Maxalt-MLT.

With both Imitrex and Maxalt, you take a dose when you have migraine. For adults, if you take one dose and still have migraine symptoms 2 hours later, you can take a second dose.

Children shouldn’t take more than one dose of Maxalt in 24 hours.

It’s not known if it’s safe to take Imitrex or Maxalt to treat more than four headaches in any 30-day period.

Side effects and risks

Imitrex and Maxalt have some similar side effects and others that vary. Below are examples of these side effects.

Mild side effects

These lists contain examples of the most common mild side effects that can occur with Imitrex, with Maxalt, or with both drugs (when taken individually).

  • Can occur with Imitrex:
    • irritation in your nose or throat, such as burning, tingling, pain, or numbness (with the nasal spray)
    • unpleasant taste in your mouth (with the nasal spray)
    • injection site reactions, such as pain, stinging, redness, or swelling (with the injection)
  • Can occur with Maxalt:
  • Can occur with both Imitrex and Maxalt:
    • nausea
    • dizziness
    • sleepiness
    • feeling weak
    • feeling unusually warm
    • feeling pain, pressure, or tightness in your chest, throat, neck, or jaw

Serious side effects

These lists contain examples of serious side effects that can occur with Imitrex, with Maxalt, or with both drugs (when taken individually).

Effectiveness

Imitrex and Maxalt have different FDA-approved uses, but they’re both used to treat migraine with or without aura in adults.

The use of Imitrex and Maxalt in treating migraine has been directly compared in a number of clinical studies.

A 2016 review of studies concluded that Maxalt was more effective for treating migraine than Imitrex. People who took Maxalt were more likely to have relief from headache and nausea 2 hours after taking a dose compared with people who took Imitrex.

Costs

According to estimates on GoodRx.com, Imitrex tablets generally cost about the same as Maxalt tablets. However, Imitrex taken by nasal spray or injection may cost more than Maxalt. The actual price you’ll pay for either drug depends on your insurance plan, your location, and the pharmacy you use.

Imitrex and Maxalt are both brand-name drugs. Generic forms of both drugs are available. Imitrex is available as the generic drug sumatriptan, and Maxalt is available as the generic drug rizatriptan. Generics usually cost less than brand-name drugs.

Like Maxalt (above), the drug Relpax has uses similar to those of Imitrex. Here’s a comparison of how Imitrex and Relpax are alike and different.

Ingredients

Imitrex contains the active drug sumatriptan. Relpax contains the active drug eletriptan.

Uses

Imitrex and Relpax are both FDA-approved to treat migraine with or without aura in adults. The Imitrex injection is also approved to treat cluster headaches in adults.

Neither drug should be used to prevent migraine or cluster headaches. In addition, these medications shouldn’t be used to treat hemiplegic migraine or basilar migraine.

Drug forms and administration

Imitrex comes in the following forms:

  • tablet that you swallow
  • nasal spray
  • single-dose vial of liquid solution for use with a syringe
  • single-dose prefilled syringe cartridge for use with an Imitrex STATdose pen

Relpax comes as a tablet that you swallow.

With both Imitrex and Relpax, you take a dose when you have migraine. If you take one dose and still have migraine symptoms 2 hours later, you can take a second dose.

It’s not known if it’s safe to take Imitrex to treat more than four headaches in any 30-day period. For Relpax, it’s not known if it’s safe to treat more than three headaches in any 30-day period.

Side effects and risks

Imitrex and Relpax have some similar side effects and others that vary. Below are examples of these side effects.

Mild side effects

These lists contain examples of the most common mild side effects that can occur with Imitrex, with Relpax, or with both drugs (when taken individually).

  • Can occur with Imitrex:
    • irritation in your nose or throat, such as burning, tingling, pain, or numbness (with the nasal spray)
    • unpleasant taste in your mouth (with the nasal spray)
    • injection site reactions, such as pain, stinging, redness, or swelling (with the injection)
  • Can occur with Relpax:
    • nausea
  • Can occur with both Imitrex and Relpax:
    • dizziness
    • sleepiness
    • feeling weak
    • feeling unusually warm
    • pain, pressure, or tightness in your chest, throat, neck, or jaw

Serious side effects

These lists contain examples of serious side effects that can occur with Imitrex, with Relpax, or with both drugs (when taken individually).

Effectiveness

Imitrex and Relpax have different FDA-approved uses, but they’re both used to treat migraine with or without aura in adults.

The use of Imitrex and Relpax in treating migraine has been directly compared in a clinical study. In this study, 100-mg Imitrex tablets were compared with 40-mg Relpax tablets and with a placebo (a treatment containing no active drug).

Relpax was found more effective for relieving migraine than Imitrex. The severity of the migraine headache was reduced to mild or no headache within 2 hours of treatment in:

  • 67% of people who took 40-mg Relpax tablets
  • 59% of people who took 100-mg Imitrex tablets
  • 26% of people who took a placebo

In this study, Relpax was also more effective than Imitrex at reducing nausea and sensitivity to light or sound.

Costs

According to estimates on GoodRx.com, Imitrex and Relpax generally cost about the same. The actual price you’ll pay for either drug depends on your insurance plan, your location, and the pharmacy you use.

Imitrex and Relpax are both brand-name drugs. Generic forms of both drugs are available. Imitrex is available as the generic drug sumatriptan, and Relpax is available as the generic drug eletriptan. Generics usually cost less than brand-name drugs.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves prescription drugs such as Imitrex to treat certain conditions. Imitrex may also be used off-label for other conditions. Off-label use is when a drug that’s approved to treat one condition is used to treat a different condition.

Imitrex for migraine

Imitrex is FDA-approved to treat migraine with or without aura in adults.

Migraine is a neurological condition, which means it affects the nervous system. With migraine, you get a severe, throbbing headache. The pain usually affects one side of the head. This headache can last several hours or even days. The headache is typically accompanied by nausea and sensitivity to light and sound.

Some people also have a sensory aura before or during the headache. Auras can include symptoms such as seeing blind spots, zigzags, or flashes of light. You may also experience a tingling sensation or have trouble speaking.

Imitrex helps relieve the symptoms of migraine. It’s not used to prevent migraine.

Effectiveness for migraine

Imitrex was found to be effective for treating migraine attacks in several clinical studies of the tablet, nasal spray, and injection forms of Imitrex.

In these studies, researchers assessed how many people had relief from their migraine after taking Imitrex or a placebo (a treatment containing no active drug). Relief meant that a headache that was considered moderate to severe became a mild headache, or the pain went away completely. Results varied depending on the form and dosage of Imitrex that was used.

  • Imitrex tablet:
    • 50% to 62% of people who took Imitrex had relief from their migraine 2 hours after taking their dose
    • 17% to 27% of people who took a placebo had relief from their migraine 2 hours after taking their dose
  • Nasal spray:
    • 43% to 64% of people who used Imitrex had relief from their migraine 2 hours after taking their dose
    • 25% to 36% of people who took a placebo had relief from their migraine 2 hours after taking their dose
  • 6-mg Imitrex injection:
    • 70% of people who used Imitrex had relief from their migraine within 1 hour after taking the dose, and 81% to 82% had relief within 2 hours after taking the dose
    • 18% to 26% of people who took a placebo had relief from their migraine within 1 hour after taking the dose, and 31% to 39% had relief within 2 hours after taking the dose

In these studies, Imitrex also reduced nausea and sensitivity to light or sound.

Imitrex for cluster headaches

The Imitrex injection is FDA-approved to treat cluster headaches in adults. Other forms of Imitrex are not approved for this use.

Cluster headaches are intense headaches that come on suddenly. They last for about an hour and occur several times a day. The pain typically starts around the eye and spreads over one side of the head.

Cluster headaches happen over a few days, weeks, or months. They’re usually followed by periods of remission without headaches.

Imitrex helps to relieve cluster headaches. It’s not used to prevent cluster headaches.

Effectiveness for cluster headaches

Imitrex injection was found to be effective for treating cluster headaches in two clinical studies.

In these studies, researchers assessed how many people had relief from their cluster headache after taking Imitrex injection or a placebo (a treatment containing no active drug). Relief meant that a headache that was considered moderate to severe became a mild headache, or the pain went away completely.

In the studies:

  • 74% to 75% of the people who received a 6-mg Imitrex injection had relief from their cluster headache within 15 minutes after taking the dose
  • 26% to 35% of people who took a placebo had relief from their cluster headache within 15 minutes after taking the dose

Imitrex for other conditions

In addition to the uses listed above, Imitrex may be used off-label for other purposes. Off-label drug use is when a drug that’s approved for one purpose is used for a different one that’s not approved. And you may wonder if Imitrex is used for certain other conditions. Below is information on another possible use for Imitrex.

Imitrex for tension headaches (not an approved use)

Imitrex isn’t FDA-approved to treat tension headaches. There’s not much evidence that Imitrex works for tension headaches, and it’s unlikely to be used for this type of headache.

Tension headaches are also known as stress headaches. This type of headache tends to affect both sides of the head. It may also be associated with stiffness in the neck or shoulders.

People with a tension headache don’t usually experience nausea, but they may be more sensitive to light and sound.

Tension headaches can have several triggers. These may include stress, anxiety, lack of sleep, eye strain, poor posture, and dehydration (low fluid levels in the body).

If you have tension headaches, talk with your doctor. They can help you figure out possible causes and suggest treatment options.

Imitrex and children

Imitrex isn’t FDA-approved for use in children and adolescents under 18 years old.

Clinical studies didn’t find Imitrex to be effective for treating migraine in this age group. In these studies, Imitrex side effects occurred more often in children than in adults.

If you’re looking for migraine options that are suitable for children, talk with your doctor.

There are no known interactions between Imitrex and alcohol. However, drinking alcohol can worsen a migraine or cluster headache. If you feel sleepy with Imitrex use, drinking alcohol could also make this worse.

Drinking alcohol can also trigger migraine attacks or cluster headaches in some people. For these people, avoiding alcohol or only drinking a small amount can help prevent migraine or cluster headache from occurring.

If you drink alcohol and are concerned about how it might affect your condition, talk with your doctor. They can tell you how much is safe for you to drink during your Imitrex treatment.

It’s not known if Imitrex is safe to take while breastfeeding. This drug hasn’t been studied in women who are breastfeeding. Imitrex may pass into breast milk, but it’s not known if this can affect a breastfed child.

If you’re breastfeeding, talk with your doctor about whether Imitrex is right for you. They may recommend other treatments for your condition.

If you do decide to take Imitrex, you may want to avoid breastfeeding for 12 hours after you take Imitrex. This can minimize the amount of the drug that your child is exposed to. Talk with your doctor about the best way to feed your child during that 12-hour window.

It’s not known if Imitrex is safe to take during pregnancy. There haven’t been any clinical studies of this drug in pregnant women. Animal studies found that the drug could cause birth defects when given to pregnant females. However, animal studies don’t always reflect what will happen in humans.

A pregnancy registry collected data from 1996 to 2012 about the health of babies who were exposed to sumatriptan (the active drug in Imitrex) during pregnancy. The information collected hasn’t raised concerns for a risk of birth defects with sumatriptan use.

Population studies* have also examined the rate of birth defects in babies born to women who took sumatriptan during their pregnancy. Researchers compared this rate with the rate in pregnant women who didn’t take this drug. These studies didn’t find an increased risk of birth defects from taking sumatriptan during pregnancy.

If you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant, talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of taking Imitrex.

* Population studies look at individuals from a group of people with common characteristics, such as age, sex, or health conditions.

It’s not known if Imitrex is safe to take during pregnancy. If you’re sexually active and you or your partner can become pregnant, talk with your doctor about your birth control needs while you’re using Imitrex.

For more information about taking Imitrex during pregnancy, see the “Imitrex and pregnancy” section above.

Imitrex can interact with several other medications. Different interactions can cause different effects. For instance, some interactions can interfere with how well a drug works. Other interactions can increase side effects or make them more severe.

Imitrex and other medications

Below are lists of medications that can interact with Imitrex. These lists don’t contain all drugs that may interact with Imitrex.

Before taking Imitrex, talk with your doctor and pharmacist. Tell them about all prescription, over-the-counter, and other drugs you take. Also tell them about any vitamins, herbs, and supplements you use. Sharing this information can help you avoid potential interactions.

If you have questions about drug interactions that may affect you, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Imitrex and other triptan medications for migraine

Imitrex is a type of medication called a triptan. You shouldn’t take Imitrex with other triptan medications.

Triptans relieve migraine by narrowing blood vessels in your brain. However, triptans can also narrow blood vessels in other parts of your body.

Taking Imitrex with other triptan medications can cause your blood vessels to narrow too much. This could raise your risk for getting serious side effects, such as heart attack, stroke, or very high blood pressure. It could also raise your risk for other triptan-related side effects, such as serotonin syndrome (high levels of the chemical serotonin). For more information about side effects, see the “Imitrex side effects” section above.

Examples of other triptans that shouldn’t be taken with Imitrex include:

  • almotriptan (Axert)
  • eletriptan (Relpax)
  • frovatriptan (Frova)
  • naratriptan (Amerge)
  • rizatriptan (Maxalt)
  • sumatriptan (Tosymra, Onzetra Xsail, Zembrace Symtouch)
  • sumatriptan/naproxen sodium (Treximet)
  • zolmitriptan (Zomig)

You also shouldn’t take Imitrex if you’ve taken one of these drugs to treat migraine in the last 24 hours.

Imitrex and ergot drugs for migraine

Imitrex relieves migraine by narrowing blood vessels in your brain. Ergot drugs for migraine also work this way. Don’t take Imitrex with ergot medications for migraine. Also, you shouldn’t take Imitrex if you’ve taken one of these medications to treat migraine in the last 24 hours.

Both types of medication can also narrow blood vessels in other parts of your body. Taking Imitrex with ergot medications can cause your blood vessels to narrow too much. This could raise your risk for serious side effects, such as heart attack, stroke, or very high blood pressure.

Examples of ergot drugs that shouldn’t be taken with Imitrex include:

  • dihydroergotamine (Migranal)
  • ergotamine tartrate (Ergomar)
  • ergotamine/caffeine (Cafergot)
  • methylergonovine (Methergine)

Imitrex and certain antidepressants

Imitrex enhances the activity of chemical called serotonin in your brain. Many antidepressants also work by increasing serotonin levels in your brain. If you take Imitrex with one of these antidepressants, it could raise your risk for a side effect called serotonin syndrome. This is a dangerous condition caused by high serotonin levels. (For more information about side effects, see the “Imitrex side effects” section above.)

Examples of antidepressants that could raise your risk for serotonin syndrome if taken with Imitrex include:

If you need to take more than one medication that affects your serotonin level, your doctor may monitor you more often for signs of serotonin syndrome. They may also adjust the dosage of your medications.

In addition to raising the risk for serotonin syndrome, taking MAOIs with Imitrex can also increase the level of Imitrex in your blood. This could raise your risk for other side effects of Imitrex. If you’re taking an MAOI antidepressant, you shouldn’t take Imitrex. Talk with your doctor about your other treatment options.

Imitrex and herbs and supplements

There aren’t any herbs or supplements that have been specifically reported to interact with Imitrex. However, you should still check with your doctor or pharmacist before using any of these products while taking Imitrex.

Imitrex and foods

There aren’t any foods that have been specifically reported to interact with Imitrex. If you have any questions about eating certain foods with Imitrex, talk with your doctor.

Do not use more Imitrex than your doctor recommends. For some drugs, doing so may lead to unwanted side effects or overdose.

What to do in case you take too much Imitrex

If you think you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor. You can also call the American Association of Poison Control Centers at 800-222-1222 or use their online tool. But if your symptoms are severe, call 911 (or your local emergency phone number) or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

You should take Imitrex according to your doctor’s or healthcare provider’s instructions.

If you’ve been prescribed Imitrex nasal spray or the Imitrex injection, your doctor will teach you how to use it. Instructions for using these forms of Imitrex are also provided in the leaflet that comes with your medication.

When to take

You should only take Imitrex if you get a migraine or cluster headache. It’s not meant to be taken every day.

It’s best to take Imitrex as soon as the pain of a migraine or cluster headache starts. However, you can also take it at any point during the headache.

If your first dose doesn’t fully relieve your headache, or your headache comes back, you can take a second dose. If you’re using Imitrex tablets or nasal spray, the second dose should be taken at least 2 hours after your first dose. If you’re using the Imitrex injection, the second dose should be taken at least 1 hour after your first dose.

If your migraine or cluster headache doesn’t improve at all with your first dose, don’t take a second dose without talking with your doctor first.

Taking Imitrex with food

Imitrex can be taken either with or without food.

Can Imitrex be crushed, split, or chewed?

Imitrex tablets shouldn’t be crushed, split or chewed. Swallow the tablet whole with a drink. If you have trouble swallowing the tablets whole, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

As with all medications, the cost of Imitrex can vary. To find current prices for Imitrex in your area, check out GoodRx.com.

The cost you find on GoodRx.com is what you may pay without insurance. The actual price you’ll pay depends on your insurance plan, your location, and the pharmacy you use.

Before approving coverage for Imitrex, your insurance company may require you to get prior authorization. This means that your doctor and insurance company will need to communicate about your prescription before the insurance company will cover the drug. The insurance company will review the prior authorization request and decide if the drug will be covered.

If you’re not sure if you’ll need to get prior authorization for Imitrex, contact your insurance company.

Financial and insurance assistance

If you need financial support to pay for Imitrex, or if you need help understanding your insurance coverage, help is available.

GlaxoSmithKline LLC, the manufacturer of Imitrex, offers a program called GSK for You. For more information and to find out if you’re eligible for support, call 888-825-5249 or visit the program website.

Generic version

Imitrex is available in a generic form called sumatriptan. A generic drug is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication. The generic is considered to be as safe and effective as the original drug. And generics tend to cost less than brand-name drugs. To find out how the cost of sumatriptan compares to the cost of Imitrex, visit GoodRx.com.

If your doctor has prescribed Imitrex and you’re interested in using sumatriptan instead, talk with your doctor. They may have a preference for one version or the other. You’ll also need to check your insurance plan, as it may only cover one or the other.

This drug comes with several precautions. Before taking Imitrex, talk with your doctor about your health history. Imitrex may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors affecting your health. These include:

  • Heart disease. You shouldn’t take Imitrex if you have a history of coronary heart disease or coronary artery vasospasm (narrowing of the arteries in your heart). This includes heart attack and chest pain. Imitrex can raise your risk for having a heart attack, and this risk may be higher if you already have heart disease. Talk with your doctor about other migraine or cluster headache treatments that may work better for you.
  • Heart disease risk factors. Imitrex can raise your risk for having a heart attack, and this risk may be higher if you have risk factors for heart disease. These include older age, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, smoking, or a family history of heart disease. If you have several of these risk factors, your doctor will check your heart health to make sure Imitrex is safe for you. If it’s not, talk with your doctor about other treatment options.
  • Irregular heartbeat. You shouldn’t take Imitrex if you have an abnormal heartbeat caused by problems with the electrical pathways in your heart. An example of these problems is Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome.
  • Stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA). You shouldn’t take Imitrex if you’ve ever had a stroke or TIA (mini-stroke). Imitrex can raise your risk for having a stroke, and this risk may be higher if you’ve had a stroke in the past. Talk with your doctor about other treatment options that may be safer for you.
  • Hemiplegic or basilar migraine. Hemiplegic migraine causes weakness on one side of your body. Basilar migraine causes an aura that may involve dizziness, slurred speech, ringing in the ears, and double vision. You shouldn’t take Imitrex if you have these types of migraine. Imitrex can raise your risk for having a stroke, and these types of migraine also raise your risk for having a stroke. Talk with your doctor about other treatment options. Also talk with your doctor if you’re not sure which type of migraine you have.
  • Peripheral vascular disease. You shouldn’t take Imitrex if you have peripheral vascular disease (PVD). With this condition, you have narrowing of the blood vessels in your arms, legs, stomach, or kidneys. An example of PVD is Raynaud’s disease. Imitrex works by narrowing blood vessels, so it could make your peripheral vascular disease worse. If you have this condition, talk with your doctor about other migraine or cluster headache treatment options.
  • Ischemic bowel disease. You shouldn’t take Imitrex if you have ischemic bowel disease. With this condition, you have reduced blood flow to your bowel. Imitrex works by narrowing blood vessels, so it could worsen this condition. Talk with your doctor about other migraine or cluster headache treatments that may work better for you.
  • High blood pressure that’s not well controlled. You shouldn’t take Imitrex if you have high blood pressure that’s not well controlled. Imitrex can raise your blood pressure even further, and this can raise your risk for having a heart attack or stroke. Talk with your doctor about other migraine or cluster headache treatments that are more suitable for you.
  • Seizures. Imitrex can sometimes cause seizures. If you’ve had seizures in the past (such as due to epilepsy), you could have a higher risk for seizures with Imitrex. Talk with your doctor about whether Imitrex is right for you.
  • Liver problems. If you have problems with how well your liver works, this can cause Imitrex to build up in your body. This is because the drug is mainly broken down by your liver. If you have liver problems, your doctor may prescribe a lower dose of Imitrex. You shouldn’t take Imitrex if you have severe liver problems. Talk with your doctor about other treatment options.
  • Allergic reaction. You shouldn’t take Imitrex if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to Imitrex or any of its ingredients. You also shouldn’t use Imitrex prefilled syringe cartridges if you have an allergy to latex. Ask your doctor about other medications that may work better for you.
  • Pregnancy. It’s not known if Imitrex is safe to use when pregnant. For more information, see the “Imitrex and pregnancy” section above.
  • Breastfeeding. It’s not known if Imitrex is safe to use while breastfeeding. This drug does pass into breast milk. For more information, see the “Imitrex and breastfeeding” section above.

Note: For more information about the potential negative effects of Imitrex, see the “Imitrex side effects” section above.

When you get Imitrex from the pharmacy, the pharmacist will add an expiration date to the label on the packaging. This date is typically 1 year from the date they dispensed the medication.

The expiration date helps guarantee that the medication is effective during this time. The current stance of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is to avoid using expired medications. If you have unused medication that has gone past the expiration date, talk to your pharmacist about whether you might still be able to use it.

Storage

How long a medication remains good can depend on many factors, including how and where you store the medication.

Imitrex tablets, nasal spray, solution, and cartridges used with the injection pen should be stored between 36°F and 86°F (2°C and 30°C).

Keep Imitrex in a tightly sealed container away from light. Avoid storing this medication in areas where it could get damp or wet, such as bathrooms.

Disposal

If you no longer need to take Imitrex tablets or nasal spray and have leftover medication, it’s important to dispose of them safely. This helps prevent others, including children and pets, from taking the drug by accident. It also helps keep the drug from harming the environment.

Right after you’ve used an Imitrex syringe cartridge pack, or a syringe to use Imitrex from a vial, dispose of it in an FDA-approved sharps disposal container. This helps prevent others, including children and pets, from taking the drug by accident or harming themselves with the needle. You can buy a sharps container online. You can also ask your doctor, pharmacist, or health insurance company where to get one.

This article provides several useful tips on medication disposal. You can also ask your pharmacist for information on how to dispose of your medication.

The following information is provided for clinicians and other healthcare professionals.

Indications

Imitrex tablet, nasal spray, and injection are approved to treat migraine with or without aura in adults.

The Imitrex injection is also approved to treat cluster headache in adults.

Imitrex should only be prescribed if there is a clear diagnosis of migraine or cluster headache. It should not be used to prevent migraine or cluster headaches.

Administration

Imitrex should be taken when the pain of migraine or cluster headache first starts, though it can also be taken later in the attack.

If the first dose does not provide complete relief, or the headache comes back:

  • a second dose of Imitrex tablet or nasal spray can be taken after 2 hours
  • a second dose of Imitrex injection can be taken after 1 hour

Mechanism of action

Imitrex contains the serotonin agonist sumatriptan. Sumatriptan binds to 5-HT1B and 5-HT1D receptors in the brain.

Imitrex causes constriction of cranial blood vessels, thereby reversing the vasodilation that is believed to be key in causing migraine and cluster headaches.

Imitrex may also inhibit activity in the trigeminal nerve that can contribute to the symptoms of migraine.

Pharmacokinetics and metabolism

Sumatriptan undergoes first-pass metabolism and is incompletely absorbed. The bioavailability of sumatriptan is approximately 15% after oral administration and approximately 17% after intranasal administration. After subcutaneous administration, bioavailability is approximately 97%.

Due to the presystemic metabolism, bioavailability is higher in people with liver disease.

Clinical response begins 5 minutes following subcutaneous injection, 15 minutes following nasal administration, and 30 minutes following oral administration.

Sumatriptan is primarily metabolized by MAO-A. Approximately 60% of the dose is excreted in the urine as the inactive metabolites, and 40% is excreted in the feces.

The elimination half-life is approximately 2.5 hours for Imitrex tablets, and 2 hours for Imitrex nasal spray and injection.

Contraindications

Imitrex is contraindicated in people with any of the following conditions:

Imitrex is also contraindicated in people who have taken:

  • a monoamine oxidase (MAO)-A inhibitor in the last 2 weeks
  • another triptan medication in the last 24 hours
  • an ergot-type medication in the last 24 hours

Storage

Imitrex tablets, nasal spray, and injection can be stored at a temperature of 36°F to 86°F (2°C to 30°C) and protected from light.

Disclaimer: Medical News Today has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.

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