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What is Imitrex?
Imitrex is used to treat migraines. It helps to relieve headache, pain, and other migraine symptoms (including nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light/sound). Prompt treatment helps you return to your normal routine and may decrease your need for other pain medications. Imitrex belongs to a class of drugs known as triptans. It affects a certain natural substance (serotonin) that causes narrowing of blood vessels in the brain. It may also relieve pain by affecting certain nerves in the brain.
Imitrex does not prevent future migraines or lessen how often you get migraine attacks.
How to use Imitrex
Read the Patient Information Leaflet if available from your pharmacist before you start taking Imitrex and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Take Imitrex by mouth with or without food as directed by your doctor, at the first sign of a migraine. The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. If there is no improvement in your symptoms, do not take more doses of Imitrex before talking to your doctor. If your symptoms are only partly relieved, or if your headache comes back, you may take another dose at least two hours after the first dose. Do not take more than 200 milligrams in a 24-hour period.
Imitrex may also be used as a backup for Imitrex injection. If your symptoms are only partly relieved or your headache comes back, you may take a dose of Imitrex by mouth at least two hours after the injection, up to a maximum of 100 milligrams in a 24-hour period.
If you have a higher risk for heart problems (see Precautions), your doctor may perform a heart exam before you start taking Imitrex. He/she may also direct you to take your first dose of Imitrex in the office/clinic to monitor for serious side effects (such as chest pain). Talk to your doctor for details.
Overuse of drugs to treat sudden migraine attacks can sometimes lead to worsening of headache (medication overuse headache) or rebound headache. Therefore, do not use Imitrex more often or for longer than prescribed. Tell your doctor if you need to use Imitrex more often, if the medication is not working as well, or if you have more frequent or worse headaches. Your doctor may need to change your medication and/or add another medication to help prevent headaches.
Imitrex Side Effects
Flushing, feelings of tingling/numbness/prickling/heat, tiredness, weakness, drowsiness, or dizziness may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed Imitrex because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using Imitrex do not have serious side effects.
Imitrex may raise your blood pressure. Check your blood pressure regularly and tell your doctor if the results are high.
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: blue fingers/toes/nails, cold hands/feet, hearing changes, mental/mood changes.
Imitrex can commonly cause chest/jaw/neck tightness, pain, or pressure that is usually not serious. However, these side effects are like symptoms of a heart attack, which may include chest/jaw/left arm pain, shortness of breath, or unusual sweating. Get medical help right away if these or other serious side effects occur, including: fast/irregular heartbeat, fainting, severe stomach/abdominal pain, bloody diarrhea, signs of a stroke (such as weakness on one side of the body, trouble speaking, sudden vision changes, confusion).
Imitrex may increase serotonin and rarely cause a very serious condition called serotonin syndrome/toxicity. The risk increases if you are also taking other drugs that increase serotonin, so tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the drugs you take (see Drug Interactions section). Get medical help right away if you develop some of the following symptoms: fast heartbeat, hallucinations, loss of coordination, severe dizziness, severe nausea/vomiting/diarrhea, twitching muscles, unexplained fever, unusual agitation/restlessness.
A very serious allergic reaction to Imitrex is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
Before using Imitrex, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. Imitrex may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using Imitrex, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: blood circulation problems (for example, in your legs, arms/hands, or stomach), certain types of headaches (hemiplegic or basilar migraine), heart problems (such as chest pain, irregular heartbeat, previous heart attack), liver disease, seizure, stroke or "mini-stroke" (transient ischemic attack).
Certain conditions can increase your risk for heart problems. Tell your doctor if you have any of these conditions, including: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, family history of heart disease, overweight, smoker, postmenopausal (women), age more than 40 years (men).
Imitrex may make you dizzy or drowsy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires alertness until you are sure you can perform such activities safely. Limit alcoholic beverages.
Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).
The risk of heart disease, liver disease, and high blood pressure increases with age. Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of Imitrex, especially increased blood pressure and heart problems.
During pregnancy, Imitrex should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
Imitrex passes into breast milk in small amounts. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
Taking MAO inhibitors with Imitrex may cause a serious (possibly fatal) drug interaction. Do not take any MAO inhibitors (isocarboxazid, linezolid, methylene blue, moclobemide, phenelzine, procarbazine, rasagiline, selegiline, tranylcypromine) during treatment with Imitrex. Most MAO inhibitors should also not be taken for two weeks before treatment with Imitrex. Ask your doctor when to start or stop taking Imitrex.
The risk of serotonin syndrome/toxicity increases if you are also taking other drugs that increase serotonin. Examples include street drugs such as MDMA/"ecstasy," St. John's wort, certain antidepressants (including SSRIs such as fluoxetine/paroxetine, SNRIs such as duloxetine/venlafaxine), among others. The risk of serotonin syndrome/toxicity may be more likely when you start or increase the dose of these drugs.
If you also take any ergotamine medication (such as dihydroergotamine or methysergide) or other "triptan" drugs (such as zolmitriptan, rizatriptan), you will need to separate your Imitrex dose from your dose of these other medications to lessen the chance of serious side effects. Ask your doctor how long you should wait between your doses of these drugs.