Imitrex: What do I need to know?

Research Based
Medically reviewed by - Dr Qudsiya Raiees, MD Written by - Dr. Shilpa R


What is Imitrex?

Imitrex is a prescription medication approved by the FDA to treat migraines, which are severe headaches with or without sensory disturbances or visual changes that some individuals experience before the onset of a headache. It contains an active ingredient called sumatriptan. This mediation works by narrowing blood vessels around the brain, which helps alleviate migraine headaches and cluster headaches. It is in utilization for treatment since 1991. Imitrex should be taken with careful consideration. Patients who have risk factors like elevated cholesterol levels, high blood sugar, or hypertension may require additional testing before using these medications. 1Overview| Researched based study from

Imitrex is a prescription medication approved by the FDA to treat migraines, which are severe headaches with or without sensory disturbances or visual changes that some individuals experience before the onset of a headache.

How does Imitrex work on the body?

  • Serotonin is a chemical messenger in our body that plays a role in how our cells communicate with each other.
  • In the case of migraines, there are specific receptors for serotonin located on blood vessels and nerve endings.
  • Receptors are like small “locks” situated on the cellular exteriors of the body.
  • When the right “key” (a specific molecule or medicine) fits into the receptor, it activates the cell, similar to turning on a switch. This activation can produce different outcomes, contingent on the kind of receptor and the “key” that fits into it.
  • When a medication like Imitrex attaches to the receptors, it can affect how blood vessels behave and how nerve signals are transmitted. By doing this, it helps to stop a migraine from developing or makes it go away.2Overview| Researched based study from


What is Imitrex used for?

Imitrex is prescribed for:

  • Migraine headache
  • Cluster headache

Migraine headache

  • Imitrex is a special medicine that can stop migraine headaches before they become too painful.
  • A migraine is a severe type of headache that can lead to intense pulsating discomfort, frequently affecting one side of the head.
  • While this medication is effective in treating the headache itself, it may not have an impact on these visual disturbances that can occur before the headache starts.

Cluster headache

  • It is also helpful for cluster headaches if they occur.
  • Cluster headaches occur in groups or clusters. These headaches cause strong, sharp agony in one half of the skull, usually near the eyes.1Uses| Researched based study from


Dosage and forms

Available forms

Imitrex comes in three different forms:

Oral form

  • The oral form of this medication is available in three different strengths: 25 mg, 50 mg, or 100 mg tablets.
  • It takes longer and typically achieves its maximum impact in 2 hours.

Injectable form

  • The injection is a quick and direct way to deliver the medication, which contains 6 milligrams of the active ingredient.
  • This form works very quickly and can stop a migraine within 15 minutes for some people.

Nasal spray

  • The nasal spray is a convenient way to take the medicine as it is sprayed into the nose and comes in two different strengths: 5 mg or 20 mg of the active ingredient in one spray.
  • The nasal spray falls in between the other two forms in terms of how quickly it starts working.

Recommended dosage

  • Oral dose- The patients can repeat the Imitrex tablet dose after 2 hours if necessary, but it should not exceed a total of 200 mg of the medication in any 24-hour period.
  • Injectable dose- Waiting at least one hour before taking another dose of the injection, and limiting its use to no more than 2 days per week, is crucial.
  • Nasal spray- Users should not exceed the use of nasal spray forms more than twice a week.1Dosage| Researched based study from


Overdose of Imitrex

  • Overdoes can include dizziness, decreased rate of heartbeat, nausea, diminished control of the bowels, and drowsiness.
  • It can induce blood vessel narrowing, which can lead to cardiac problems like discomfort in the chest, heartbeats that are not regular, or cardiac arrest.
  • It may also limit blood circulation to other body parts, including a part of the large intestine, causing severe abdominal pain.2Overdose| Researched based study from

Side effects

Side effects of Imitrex.

Side effects of Imitrex

Imitrex can potentially lead to side effects. If you encounter any of these indications and find them troublesome or enduring, it is crucial to inform your doctor promptly.

Common side effects with Imitrex

  • Weight loss
  • Reddening of the skin
  • Sleepiness
  • Feeling tired
  • Light-headedness
  • Loose stools
  • Feeling queasy
  • Tightening of muscles

Serious side effects

  • Experiencing sudden cold sweats
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Loss of strength in an arm or leg
  • Abrupt or intense abdominal pain
  • Irregular or rapid heart rate
  • Abrupt decrease in weight
  • Skin eruption
  • Blood pressure increase
  • Raised, itchy skin bumps
  • Alteration in eyesight
  • Convulsions 3Side effects| Researched based study from


Drug interactions of Imitrex

Ergotamine-containing drugs

  • Avoid using medications that contain ergotamine or are similar to ergot while taking Imitrex tablets, and do not use them within 24 hours of each other.

Monoamine Oxidase-A (MAO-A) inhibitors

  • Monoamine Oxidase-A inhibitors are a class of medications used to treat depression and anxiety.
  • These medications should not be used with Imitrex together, as it can be harmful.

Other types of 5-HT1 agonists

  • 5-HT1 agonists, like Imitrex, treat migraines and cluster headaches.
  • Refrain from taking Imitrex tablets along with these medications within one full day.

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors or Serotonin Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors

  • These medications are commonly used to treat mental disorders.
  • Serotonin syndrome has been reported when Imitrex is used together with these medications.
  • It is an uncommon yet potentially dangerous state that occurs if the level of serotonin becomes overly high.4Interactions| Researched based study from



Prior to using Imitrex, if there is a presence of any of the mentioned conditions, it is essential to discuss them with the healthcare professional.


  • During pregnancy, Imitrex tablets can only be used when the advantages to the mother exceed the potential hazards to the unborn child.


  • If you are using Imitrex through subcutaneous injection, the medication can be passed into breast milk.
  • To minimize your baby’s exposure to the medication, it is recommended to avoid breastfeeding for 12 hours after receiving the treatment.

Children and teenagers

  • Imitrex is not recommended for children under 18 years of age because its safety and effectiveness have not been established in pediatric patients.

Elderly patients

  • When giving Imitrex tablets to elderly patients, doctors usually start with a low dose.
  • Older patients with heart-related risk factors get a cardiovascular evaluation before using this medication.4Precautions| Researched based study from



Individuals suffering from issues with the liver

  • Sumatriptan is not to be used through oral, intranasal, or subcutaneous routes if an individual is suffering from liver disease.
  • It is important to avoid these forms of administration in such cases to ensure safety and prevent potential harm to the liver.

Patients using MAO type A inhibitors

  • If any patient is taking medications called MAO type A inhibitors or has stopped using them within the past two weeks, he/she should not use Imitrex.

Cardiovascular patients

  • The drug should not be used by patients with signs and symptoms of heart problems like spasms in the coronary arteries, heart attack, or chest pain.
  • Imitrex should not be used by patients with conditions like circulation problems in the arms or legs, reduced blood flow to the intestine, problems related to blood vessels in the brain, or uncontrolled high blood pressure.5Contraindications| Researched based study from


Storage and disposal

  • Keep this medicine in its original packaging, ensuring a tight seal, and store it beyond children’s reach with utmost vigilance.
  • Place it away from extreme warmth and moisture and keep it at the normal temperature of the room.
  • To avoid inadvertent consumption by dogs, kids, or others, leftover medications should be disposed of according to the correct procedures.
  • The drug must not, however, be dumped down into the restroom or flushed into the toilet. 3Storage| Researched based study from


Takeaway tips

  • Make sure to attend all scheduled appointments with your doctor while taking Imitrex for migraine and have your blood pressure checked on a regular basis.
  • No one else should consume your prescription drugs. Ask the chemist any questions you may have about getting your prescription renewed.
  • Imitrex may make you sleepy. Always follow your doctor’s instructions and if you feel sleepy, be careful when handling machinery or commuting while using Imitrex.
  • Inform your doctor prior to initiating vitamins, supplements, and minerals.
  • If you experience any side effects, make sure to inform your doctor.
Disclaimer: The user acknowledges that this article's information is being offered for informational purposes only. Every attempt has been made to guarantee that the article is informational and correct. If they have any doubts or questions about their health, we firmly advise our readers to visit a doctor or other healthcare professional.

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