When the Imitrex migraine concept was launched in the 1990's many people literally had their lives changed. Horrible throbbing, pounding pain was now aleviated with one dose of a miracle medication. The new Imitrex migraine medication is sometimes called by it's generic name sumatriptan. Sometimes, I will have a patient ask me if Imitrex can cause a recurring headache.
Or they might ask: Is there such a thing as taking this drug too often? Many of you are very internet savvy (or you wouldn't be here!) and have been reading about a newer phenomenon in headache literature called "triptan rebound syndrome".
Similar to analgesic rebound syndrome, Imitrex can cause recurring headaches if taken more than three times a week. In essence you begin bouncing off the Imitrex instead of OTC meds.
Newer medications are coming out all the time and a combination drug of Imitrex with Naprosyn (anti-inflammatory)is now available and called Treximet. Imitrex itself is now generic and known by the name sumatriptan.
Imitrex comes in three forms making it the most versitile triptan on the market.
Oral Imitrex is available in three doses, 25mg, 50mg and 100mg but unless a patient is under 110lbs, I rarely prescribe the low doses. In adults, 25mg and 50mg dosing is somewhat ineffective. Those doses are meant for very small adults or slim teens. When over 110lbs in weight, 100mg is the appropriate dose.
Injectable Imitrex is now available in two doses (4mg and 6mg) and is considered the drug of choice for
Side Effects Of Imitrex
Side effects of Imitrex (sumatriptan) are most often related to anxiety. Patients will complain of a sense of "chest tightness", a sense of aprehension or even having the migraine feel worse for a minute or two after taking the drug. This last side effect occurs most often with the injectable. Since this is a fast acting triptan, it has the tendency to provoke a little anxiety. The mojority of the time, this wears off in 10-15 minutes, and for some reason, does not happen every time a dose is taken.
Any medication can cause gastritis or upset stomach. If this happens, you might do better switching from the oral dosing to nasal or injectable forms.
The main contraindications involve cardiovascular disease. You cannont take this drug if you have severe coronary artery disease (CAD), a history of a heart attack or stroke or UN-controlled hypertention. If your hypertension is under good control with no other cardiovascular disease, then there is no reason as to why you could not take Imitrex. Why the cardiovascular warnings? 98% of sumatriptan binds to the trigeminal nerve receptors (5HT-1B) to abort a migraine. 2% binds to coronary nerve tissue and could caused coronary artery vasoconstriction. If you have severe CAD, then this could potentially shut down an artery and cause a heart attack.
You cannot take this drug if you are pregnant. You also cannot take it if you have a known allergy to the medication.
You CAN take sumatriptan if you have valvular heart problems such as mitral valve prolapse. I mention this as MVP has a definite correlation with migraine. Many migraineurs have MVP and worry about taking triptans.
The Imitrex migraine connection has been well established and at this point this is one of the most effective medications for treating migraines.