Cafergot is a combination of Ergotamine plus caffeine. Cafergot is used to treat migraine headaches and cluster headaches.

How Cafergot works

The active ingredient in Cafergot, Ergotamine, works to narrow blood vessels in the brain. This is thought to reduce the throbbing nature of the headaches. The caffeine increases the effects and the absorption of the medication. Caffeine also narrows the blood vessels.

Forms of Cafergot available to treat migraines

Cafergot is available in:

  • Tablets
  • Suppositories

Some migraine medications come in formulations that don’t require swallowing because many people with migraines suffer from nausea and vomiting and are unable to digest medications orally. There are other medications, such as Migranal and D.H.E.-45, that combine the active ingredients of Ergotamine and caffeine.

Side effects of Cafergot tablets

As always, speak to your doctor if you have severe nausea or vomiting, side effects that don’t go away or experience any unusual problems.

Serious side effects

If you experience any of the following symptoms, seek medical attention immediately:

  • Rapid, slow or irregular heartbeat
  • Leg weakness or muscle pain in legs or arms
  • Chest pain
  • Vision changes
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Slurred speech
  • Blue hands and feet
  • Swelling
  • Itching
  • Coldness, pain, burning, loss of feeling or tingling in fingers and toes
  • Whitish fingers, toes or nails
  • Bluish hands or feet
  • Muscle pain or weakness
  • Severe stomach or abdominal pain
  • Lower back pain
  • Little or no urine

Who should not take Cafergot

If you have any of the following conditions or diseases, you must check with your doctor before taking Cafergot:

  • If you also take macrolide antibiotics, protease inhibitors or azole antifungals
  • If you are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • If you are also eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice
  • Heart disease, inadequate blood flow in heart muscle, recent heart attack, abnormal heart rhythm, high blood pressure, blood clot in veins or peripheral vascular disease
  • Lack of blood supply to the brain
  • Inadequate blood flow in the extremeties, occasional numbness, prickling, or tingling of fingers and toes
  • Lung fibrosis or thickening of the lung lining
  • Ulcer from stomach acid
  • Inflamed colon and small intestine with some tissue death
  • Liver problems, severe liver disease
  • Retroperitoneal fibrosis
  • Kidney disease or impairment
  • Severe itching
  • Seizures
  • Chronic insomnia
  • Diarrhea
  • Drug poisoning by Ergot Alkaloids
  • Sepsis styndrome
  • Porphyria
  • Panic disorder
  • Fear of leaving one’s home
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder



As always, the best source for advice on treating your migraines is your own migraine specialist. These medication descriptions are provided only for informational purposes. You should begin no medication regimen without first checking with your physician. Again, this information should in no way substitute or be mistaken for medical advice.

Written by: Otesa Miles | Last review date: November 2010
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