Medication Guide App

Generic Name: sumatriptan (oral/nasal) (soo ma TRIP tan)
Brand Names: Imitrex, Imitrex Nasal

What is Imitrex?

Imitrex (sumatriptan) is a headache medicine that narrows blood vessels around the brain. Imitrex also reduces substances in the body that can trigger headache pain, nausea, sensitivity to light and sound, and other migraine symptoms.

Imitrex is used to treat migraine headaches. Imitrex will only treat a headache that has already begun. It will not prevent headaches or reduce the number of attacks.

Imitrex should not be used to treat a common tension headache, a headache that causes loss of movement on one side of your body, or any headache that seems to be different from your usual migraine headaches. Use this medication only if your condition has been confirmed by a doctor as migraine headaches.

Imitrex may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Important information

You should not use Imitrex if you are allergic to sumatriptan, if you have any history of heart disease, or if you have coronary heart disease, angina, blood circulation problems, lack of blood supply to the heart, uncontrolled high blood pressure, severe liver disease, ischemic bowel disease, a history of a heart attack or stroke, or if your headache seems to be different from your usual migraine headaches.

Do not use Imitrex within 24 hours before or after using another migraine headache medicine, including sumatriptan injection, almotriptan (Axert), eletriptan (Relpax), frovatriptan (Frova), rizatriptan (Maxalt), naratriptan (Amerge), zolmitriptan (Zomig), or ergot medicine such as dihydroergotamine (D.H.E. 45, Migranal), ergotamine (Ergomar, Cafergot, Migergot), dihydroergotamine (D.H.E. 45, Migranal), or methylergonovine (Methergine).

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

Do not use Imitrex if you have used an MAO inhibitor such as furazolidone (Furoxone), isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), rasagiline (Azilect), selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam, Zelapar), or tranylcypromine (Parnate) in the last 14 days.

Before using Imitrex, tell your doctor if you have liver or kidney disease, seizures, high blood pressure, a heart rhythm disorder, or coronary heart disease (or risk factors such as diabetes, menopause, smoking, being overweight, having high cholesterol, having a family history of coronary artery disease, being older than 40 and a man, or being a woman who has had a hysterectomy).

Also tell your doctor if you are taking an antidepressant such as citalopram (Celexa), desvenlafaxine (Pristiq), duloxetine (Cymbalta), escitalopram (Lexapro), fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem), fluvoxamine (Luvox), paroxetine (Paxil), sertraline (Zoloft), or venlafaxine (Effexor).

Imitrex will only treat a headache that has already begun. It will not prevent headaches or reduce the number of attacks.

After taking a Imitrex tablet, you must wait two (2) hours before taking a second tablet. Do not take more than 200 mg of sumatriptan tablets in 24 hours.

After using Imitrex nasal spray, you must wait two (2) hours before using a second spray. Do not use more than 40 mg of sumatriptan nasal spray in 24 hours.

Before using Imitrex

You should not use Imitrex if you are allergic to sumatriptan, or if you have:

  • coronary heart disease, angina (chest pain), blood circulation problems, lack of blood supply to the heart;

  • a history of heart disease, heart attack, or stroke, including "mini-stroke";

  • severe or uncontrolled high blood pressure;

  • severe liver disease;
  • ischemic bowel disease; or

  • a headache that seems different from your usual migraine headaches.

Do not use Imitrex if you have used an MAO inhibitor such as furazolidone (Furoxone), isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), rasagiline (Azilect), selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam, Zelapar), or tranylcypromine (Parnate) in the last 14 days.

To make sure you can safely use Imitrex, tell your doctor if you have any of these other conditions:

  • liver disease;
  • kidney disease;
  • epilepsy or other seizure disorder;

  • high blood pressure, a heart rhythm disorder; or

  • coronary heart disease (or risk factors such as diabetes, menopause, smoking, being overweight, having high cholesterol, having a family history of coronary artery disease, being older than 40 and a man, or being a woman who has had a hysterectomy).

FDA pregnancy category C. It is not known whether Imitrex will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medication.

See also: Pregnancy and breastfeeding warnings (in more detail)

Your name may need to be listed on a Imitrex pregnancy registry when you start using this medication.

Sumatriptan can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Do not breast-feed within 12 hours after using Imitrex. If you use a breast pump during this time, throw out any milk you collect. Do not feed it to your baby. Imitrex should not be given to anyone under 18 or over 65 years of age.

How should I use Imitrex?

Use Imitrex exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not use in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended. Follow the directions on your prescription label. Overuse of migraine headache medicine can actually make your headaches worse.

Use Imitrex as soon as you notice headache symptoms, or after an attack has already begun.

Your doctor may want to give your first dose of this medicine in a hospital or clinic setting to see if you have any serious side effects.

Take one Imitrex tablet whole with a full glass of water. Do not split the tablet.

After taking a tablet: If your headache does not completely go away, or goes away and comes back, take a second tablet two (2) hours after the first. Do not take more than 200 mg of sumatriptan oral tablets in 24 hours. If your symptoms have not improved, contact your doctor before taking any more tablets.

Imitrex nasal spray comes with patient instructions for safe and effective use. Follow these directions carefully. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions. Blow your nose to clear your nasal passages before using the nasal spray. Try not to sneeze or blow your nose just after using the spray.

After using the Imitrex nasal spray: If your headache does not completely go away after using the spray, call your doctor before using a second spray of Imitrex. If your headache goes away and then comes back, you may use a second spray if it has been at least two hours since you used the first spray. Do not use more than 40 mg of sumatriptan nasal spray in 24 hours. If your symptoms do not improve, contact your doctor before using any more sprays.

Contact your doctor if you have more than four headaches in one month (30 days).

Store Imitrex at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Since Imitrex is used as needed, it does not have a daily dosing schedule. Call your doctor promptly if your symptoms do not improve after using this medicine.

After taking a Imitrex tablet, you must wait two (2) hours before taking a second tablet. Do not take more than 200 mg of sumatriptan tablets in 24 hours.

After using Imitrex nasal spray, you must wait two (2) hours before using a second spray. Do not use more than 40 mg of nasal spray in 24 hours.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

Overdose symptoms may include tremors or shaking, skin redness, breathing problems, blue-colored lips or fingernails, vision problems, watery eyes or mouth, weakness, lack of coordination, or seizure (convulsions).

What should I avoid?

Do not use Imitrex within 24 hours before or after using another migraine headache medicine, including:

  • sumatriptan injection, almotriptan (Axert), eletriptan (Relpax), frovatriptan (Frova), naratriptan (Amerge), rizatriptan (Maxalt, Maxalt-MLT), or zolmitriptan (Zomig); or

  • ergot medicine such as dihydroergotamine (D.H.E. 45, Migranal), ergotamine (Ergomar, Cafergot, Migergot), dihydroergotamine (D.H.E. 45, Migranal), or methylergonovine (Methergine).

Imitrex may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert.

Imitrex side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction to Imitrex: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. Stop using Imitrex and call your doctor if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • feeling of pain or tightness in your jaw, neck, or throat;

  • chest pain or heavy feeling, pain spreading to the arm or shoulder, nausea, sweating, general ill feeling;

  • sudden numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the body;

  • sudden severe headache, confusion, problems with vision, speech, or balance;

  • sudden and severe stomach pain and bloody diarrhea;

  • seizure (convulsions);

  • numbness or tingling and a pale or blue-colored appearance in your fingers or toes; or

  • (if you are also taking an antidepressant) -- agitation, hallucinations, fever, fast heart rate, overactive reflexes, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of coordination, fainting.

Less serious Imitrex side effects may include:

  • mild headache (not a migraine);

  • pressure or heavy feeling in any part of your body;

  • feeling hot or cold;

  • dizziness, spinning sensation;

  • drowsiness;

  • nausea, vomiting, drooling;

  • unusual taste in your mouth after using the nasal spray;

  • burning, numbness, pain or other irritation in your nose or throat after using the nasal spray; or

  • warmth, redness, or mild tingling under your skin.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

What other drugs will affect Imitrex?

Tell your doctor about all other medicines you use, especially:

  • an antidepressant such as citalopram (Celexa), desvenlafaxine (Pristiq), duloxetine (Cymbalta), escitalopram (Lexapro), fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem), fluvoxamine (Luvox), paroxetine (Paxil), sertraline (Zoloft), or venlafaxine (Effexor).

This list is not complete and other drugs may interact with Imitrex. Tell your doctor about all medications you use. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin, and herbal products. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist can provide more information about Imitrex.
  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2014 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 13.01. Revision Date: 2/5/2011 12:06:16 PM.

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