Imitrex Migraine Treatment – Does Imitrex Work?

There are many different methods for relieving pain associated with migraines. Once you are diagnosed with migraines, you physician will recommend the best possible treatment methods for you. Imitrex is one such medication. However, before beginning migraine treatment with Imitrex, it is important that you discuss all aspects of your migraine attacks with your physician.

Migraine Causes & Symptoms

The cause of migraines is suspected to be sporadic constrictions of the blood vessels in your brain. In addition, recent research has found a link between migraines and unbalanced levels of serotonin and dopamine, the two brain chemicals associated with depression.

Furthermore, there are chemicals and environmental factors, known as migraine triggers, which have been determined to set migraines into motion and/or make them worse. Some common migraine triggers include foods and beverages that contain tyramine, phenylethamine, nitrates, monosodium glutamate (MSG) and aspartame, which is a sugar substitute.

These can include aged cheeses, such as mozzarella, caffeine, red wine, bananas, sausages and hot dogs, Asian cuisine and diet snacks and beverages, to name a few. Additionally, skipping meals can lead to decreased blood sugar, which has been associated with migraine attack. Furthermore, bright lights, loud noises, and strong odors, such as perfume and cigarette smoke, have also been linked to triggering migraines.

Common migraine symptoms include pain, which typically manifests on only one side of your head, nausea that is often accompanied by vomiting, sensitivity to bright lights and loud sounds, and in some extreme cases, diarrhea. Other symptoms include migraine aura, which can present as a visual or neurological disturbance similar to transient ischemic attacks (TIAs) and some seizure disorders.

If you believe you have migraines, it is important to discuss your signs and symptoms with your physician. He/she will be able to provide you with a diagnosis and begin proper migraine treatment, such as Imitrex.

Migraine Treatment – What Is Imitrex?

Imitrex is the brand name for the drug sumatriptan, which is specifically for migraine pain relief. Imitrex works by narrowing the blood vessels that surround the brain and reducing the effects of migraine symptoms caused by chemicals in your body. Imitrex is only for treating migraines, not for prevention, and therefore should be taken at the onset of a migraine attack.

Imitrex Dosing

Imitrex should only be taken when prescribed by your physician.  It is available in three different forms for the use of migraine treatment.

  • Imitrex tablets taken orally – 25 mg, 50 mg and 100 mg
  • Imitrex nasal spray – 5 mg, 10 mg and 20 mg for each nostril
  • Imitrex subcutaneous injection, meaning just beneath the skin – 4 mg and 6 mg

Imitrex should not be taken every day, but only at the onset of a migraine. There should be at least two hours in between doses, and you should not take more than one dose, unless directed by your physician. However, you should never take more than 200 mg total of Imitrex in tablet form, 40 mg in nasal spray form, or 12 mg of the subcutaneous injection.

There are no special instructions to taking Imitrex, such as with food. If you are using Imitrex nasal spray or Imitrex injection, your physician should demonstrate, or give specific instructions on how to use. If you are concerned about using Imitrex, you should consult your physician or pharmacist.

Imitrex Side Effects

All medications have associated side effects. An allergic reaction to Imitrex will present as hives, breathing difficulty, face, lips, tongue and/or throat swelling. If this occurs, you should immediately stop taking Imitrex and get emergency medical attention.

You should contact your physician if any of the following side effects occur, as well:

  • Tightness or pain in your neck, throat and jaw
  • Heavy chest or chest pain that spreads to your arm or shoulder, and is accompanied by nausea, sick feeling and sweating
  • Sudden weakness and/or numbness, specifically on one side of your body
  • Sudden confusion, vision, speech and/or balance issues accompanied by a severe headache
  • Severe stomach pain and bloody diarrhea
  • Seizure attack
  • Tingling and/or numbness in your fingers and toes accompanied by a pale blue color

Other side effects, which are not as serious, include:

  • Slight headache, although not a migraine
  • Pressure or feeling of heaviness anywhere on your body
  • Cold or hot feeling
  • Dizziness or spinning feeling – vertigo
  • Sleepiness
  • Nausea, vomiting or drooling
  • If using nasal spray – abnormal taste in your mouth, burning, pain or numbness in your throat or nose
  • Mild tingling, warmth or redness underneath your skin

Imitrex Contraindications

Like many other drugs, Imitrex should not be taken with certain medications. The following list, although not a complete list, will give you some idea of what types of medications should not be used with Imitrex. You should advise your physician of all medications you are currently taking to avoid complications.

  • Celexa (citalopram)
  • Pristiq (desvenlafaxine)
  • Cymbalta (duloxetine)
  • Lexapro (escitalopram)
  • Prozac (fluoxetine)
  • Luvox (fluvoxamine)
  • Paxil (paroxetine)
  • Zoloft (sertraline)
  • Effexor (venlafaxine)

There are also many different health conditions in which it is not recommended for you to use Imitrex. It is important that you discuss your medical history with your physician as well. This will ensure your safety while taking Imitrex.

Although this is not a complete list, a few health conditions where Imitrex should not be used are listed below.

  • Coronary heart disease and associated medical conditions
  • History of stroke, heart attack and/or heart disease
  • Uncontrolled or severe high blood pressure
  • Liver disease
  • Ischemic bowel disease
  • Headache with abnormal symptoms
  • Use of an MAO inhibitor
  • Kidney disease
  • Epilepsy and/or seizure disorder
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Overweight
  • High cholesterol


You and your physician will determine if Imitrex is the right medication for you. However, to ensure your safety and reduced side effects, it is important that you discuss your medical history and/or medications you are currently taking. It is also recommended that you follow the instructions provided to you by your physician. In the event you do not fully understand how to use Imitrex, or feel that it is not working for you, you should contact your physician.

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