Imitrex® (sumatriptan succinate)

Imitrex® (sumatriptan succinate) is a selective 5-HT1B/1D receptor agonist (triptan) indicated for the acute treatment of migraine, with or without aura, in adults who have a clear migraine diagnosis. It is taken by mouth for the relief of migraine severity, from moderate or severe pain to mild or no pain.

Imitrex generally works within 2 hours. It is intended to reduce acute migraine symptoms, as it will only treat a migraine that has already begun. It should not to be used as a prophylactic therapy to prevent the onset of migraine.

Overuse of acute migraine drugs can cause medication overuse headaches. Overuse is considered dosing on more than 10 days per month. Symptoms of overuse may need to be treated and detoxification from migraine medications may be required.

What are the ingredients in Imitrex?

The active ingredient in Imitrex is sumatriptan succinate.

How does Imitrex work?

Imitrex works by binding with 5-HT1B/1D receptors on blood vessels in the brain. It narrows the blood vessels (constriction) in the brainstem. It also reduces the inflammatory substances in the body that can trigger head pain, nausea, sensitivity to light and sensitivity to sound, and other migraine symptoms. Imitrex works best if it is taken as soon as migraine symptoms appear.

What are the possible side effects of Imitrex?

Many clinical trials evaluated the safety and efficacy of Imitrex. The most common side effects experienced by those taking Imitrex include:

  • Pain or tight feeling in the chest, throat, jaw, or neck
  • Feeling weak, drowsy, or tired
  • Pressure or heavy feeling in any part of your body
  • Numbness or tingling in the fingers and toes
  • Feeling hot or cold in the extremities

This is not an exhaustive list of all potential side effects of Imitrex. For more information, consult your doctor or healthcare provider. If you notice any new or worsening side effects when taking Imitrex, contact your doctor or healthcare provider immediately.

Things to note about Imitrex

Imitrex tablets come in 25 mg, 50 mg, and 100 mg. Before starting Imitrex talk with your doctor if you:

  • Have a history of hypersensitivity to sumatriptan succinate
  • Have a history of coronary artery disease (CAD), angina or heart attacks
  • Have a history of high blood pressure or high cholesterol
  • Have a history of hemiplegic or basilar migraine
  • Have a history of stroke, transient ischemic attacks (TIAs), or circulatory problems
  • Are a female who has gone through menopause
  • Are a man over 40
  • Are overweight, smoke, or have diabetes
  • Have taken ergot-containing medication or other triptans within the 24 hours prior to migraine
  • Have taken a MAO-A inhibitor within 2 weeks prior to your migraine
  • Take anti-depressant medicines including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), or tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs)
  • Have severe hepatic (liver) impairment
  • Have severe renal (kidney) problems
  • Are pregnant or planning to get pregnant, as there is limited information on the use of Imitrex in pregnancy. It should be used only if the potential benefit of Imitrex therapy exceeds risk to the fetus.

Individuals with the above conditions should be monitored closely while taking Imitrex.

If there is no response to the first migraine attack treated with the Imitrex, a physician should reconsider the migraine diagnosis prior to using the medication in any subsequent attacks.

A cardiovascular evaluation should be performed on patients who have never taken a triptan medication but who have multiple cardiovascular risk factors (e.g., increased age, diabetes, hypertension, smoking, obesity, strong family history of CAD) before starting Imitrex. For those with a cardiac history, the first dose of Imitrex should be administered in a medically supervised setting and an electrocardiogram (ECG) should be performed immediately following the dose.

Dosing Information

Imitrex tablets are taken by mouth with water or other liquids. Imitrex tablets of all strengths come in 9-tablet blister packs and should be stored at room temperature.

A physician will determine the appropriate dose for each patient. If only partial migraine relief is attained or it returns quickly, a second dose may be taken 2 hours after the first. The maximum dosage in a 24-hour period is a total of 200 mg.

Keep track of when you have migraine and when you take Imitrex so you can monitor its effectiveness, and communicate with your doctor about how the medication is working for you.

Before taking Imitrex make sure to tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescription and nonprescription, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Imitrex and other medicines may affect each other, causing side effects.

Because Imitrex can cause dizziness, weakness, and drowsiness, do not drive a car, use machinery, or do anything requiring you to be fully alert when taking this medication.

For additional details, read the full prescribing information of Imitrex.

Written by: Linda Saxl Minton | Last reviewed: June 2018.
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