Ergotamine

Generic Name: ergotamine (er-GOT-a-meen)
Brand Name: Ergomar

A serious and sometimes fatal decrease in blood flow to the extremities (eg, hands, feet) or brain may occur if ergotamine is taken with certain medicines that affect liver metabolism. Do not take ergotamine if you also take macrolide antibiotics (eg, erythromycin), certain HIV protease inhibitors (eg, ritonavir), or certain azole antifungals (eg, ketoconazole, itraconazole). Tell your doctor if you take any of these medicines. This is not a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Check with your doctor or pharmacist to see if ergotamine may interact with other medicines that you take.


Ergotamine is used for:

Preventing or treating acute migraine headache with or without aura (flashing lights, wavy lines, dark spots).

Ergotamine is an ergot derivative. It works by narrowing blood vessels in the brain, which helps to relieve migraine headaches.

Do NOT use ergotamine if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in ergotamine or to other ergot derivatives (eg, dihydroergotamine)
  • you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • you have heart disease, blood vessel problems, high blood pressure, decreased liver or kidney function, or severe infection
  • you are taking certain azole antifungals (eg, itraconazole, ketoconazole), certain HIV protease inhibitors (eg, ritonavir, nelfinavir, indinavir), delavirdine, efavirenz, macrolide antibiotics (eg, clarithromycin, erythromycin, troleandomycin), telithromycin, or voriconazole
  • you have taken a 5-HT1 agonist (eg, sumatriptan) within the past 24 hours

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Slideshow: Living with Your Migraines: Tips for Treatment and Prevention

Before using ergotamine:

Some medical conditions may interact with ergotamine. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have blood circulation problems or other blood problems (eg, porphyria)
  • if you have a history of liver or kidney problems, heart problems, lung problems, high cholesterol, or diabetes
  • if you get other types of headaches, or if your migraine headache is different from previous migraines

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with ergotamine. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Azole antifungals (eg, ketoconazole), beta-blockers (eg, propranolol), clotrimazole, delavirdine, efavirenz, fluconazole, fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, HIV protease inhibitors (eg, ritonavir), 5-HT1 agonists (eg, sumatriptan), macrolide antibiotics (eg, erythromycin), metronidazole, nefazodone, telithromycin, voriconazole, or zileuton because they may increase the risk of ergotamine's side effects
  • Droxidopa or sympathomimetics (eg, ephedrine) because severe high blood pressure may occur

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if ergotamine may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use ergotamine:

Use ergotamine as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Take ergotamine at the first sign of a migraine attack as directed by your doctor.
  • Do not swallow, crush, or chew sublingual tablets. Place the tablet under your tongue and allow it to slowly dissolve. Do not eat, drink, or smoke while the tablet is dissolving.
  • If you need more than 1 dose of ergotamine to treat a migraine attack, take the second dose at least 30 minutes after the first dose. Do not take more than 2 tablets for any migraine attack.
  • Do not take more than 3 tablets in a 24 hour period. Do not take more than 5 tablets within a 7 day period, unless otherwise directed by your doctor.
  • Do not use ergotamine daily on a regular basis.
  • Check with your doctor before including grapefruit or grapefruit juice in your diet while you take ergotamine.
  • If you miss a dose of ergotamine and you still have a headache, follow your doctor's dosing instructions. Contact your doctor immediately if you are unsure of what to do if you miss a dose. Do not take ergotamine more often than prescribed. Do not take 2 doses at once.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use ergotamine.

Important safety information:

  • Ergotamine may cause dizziness. This effect may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use ergotamine with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
  • Do NOT take more than the recommended dose or use for longer than prescribed without checking with your doctor.
  • Use ergotamine with caution in the ELDERLY; they may be more sensitive to its effects.
  • Ergotamine should not be used in CHILDREN; safety and effectiveness in children have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: Do not use ergotamine if you are pregnant. It may cause harm to the fetus. Avoid becoming pregnant while you are taking it. If you think you may be pregnant, contact your doctor right away. Ergotamine is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking ergotamine.

Possible side effects of ergotamine:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Dizziness; nausea; vomiting.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); chest pain; fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat; muscle pain or weakness in the arms and legs; numb, cold, blue, pale, or tingling hands or feet; persistent headache; severe or persistent dizziness; shortness of breath; unusual swelling or weakness.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions or need medical advice about side effects, contact your doctor or health care provider. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 (1-800-332-1088) or at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include coma; fainting; fast or slowed heartbeat; persistent headache; seizures; severe or persistent dizziness; vomiting; weak pulse.

Proper storage of ergotamine:

Store ergotamine between 68 and 77 degrees F (20 and 25 degrees C). Brief storage at temperatures between 59 and 86 degrees F (15 and 30 degrees C) is permitted. Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep ergotamine out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about ergotamine, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Ergotamine is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take ergotamine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about ergotamine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to ergotamine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using ergotamine.

Issue Date: July 2, 2014
Database Edition 14.3.1.001
Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

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