Sumatriptan, most commonly referred to as Imitrex, is a pain reliever prescribed for migraine headaches more specifically with nausea and light sensitivity. Migraine headaches are assumed to result from dilatation of the blood vessels inside the head. The primary function of Imitrex is to constrict the blood vessels in the head to relieve the pressure causing the migraine. Imitrex is dispensed as a prescription only drug that does not have a generic counterpart. Imitrex can either be swallowed in tablet for with 25 to 50 mg or administered through a 6 mg injection. Because Imitrex is so specifically targeted to migraines with nausea and light-sensitivity, it is unlikely to reduce the frequency of the headaches and should not be used to treat other types of minor headaches. Imitrex is a medication that can be taken on an empty stomach if desired.
There are some serious drug interactions associated with the use of Imitrex. One of these interactions occurs in patients with liver dysfunction because the drug is metabolized in the liver so dosages may need to be reduced accordingly. Imitrex is also known to cause elevations in blood pressure and spasm of the coronary arteries and should therefore be avoided by patients with heart disease and poor blood pressure control, diabetes, smokers, and obese patients. Imitrex should not be administered with any type of monoamine oxidase inhibitors because of the risk of prolonged spasms in the blood vessels. Safe use by pregnant women, nursing mothers, and children has not been recommended nor tested.
The most common side effects of Imitrex are described as generally mild with reports of pain or tightness in the chest or throat, tingling, flushing, weakness, dizziness, abdominal discomfort, sweating, and some allergic reactions have been reported. Many patients may prefer to take their first dose of Imitrex in the presence of their doctor to monitor their breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure.
Disclaimer: Cliff Schaffer does not personally endorse or support any of the comments made within the writings of this article.