Imitrex and Heart Problems
There are a number of potential side effects of Imitrex, and heart problems are among the side effects that occur rarely. A few of these heart problems include a heart attack, changes in heart rhythm, and cardiac arrest. This risk of heart problems is greater in people with a history of heart disease and in those with risk factors for heart disease. People with heart disease should not take Imitrex, and people with risk factors for heart disease should use the medication with caution.
An Overview of Imitrex and Heart ProblemsImitrex® (sumatriptan succinate) is a prescription medication used to treat migraine headaches. Imitrex is part of a class of migraine medications known as 5-HT agonists (or more commonly just "triptans").
As with any medicine, there are a number of side effects that can occur with Imitrex -- and heart problems are one of them. For this reason, people with a history of heart problems should not take Imitrex. For those with risk factors for heart problems, Imitrex should be used with caution.
Heart Problems With Imitrex -- What's the Risk?It is thought that heart problems with Imitrex occur because Imitrex can cause the blood vessels of the heart (known as coronary arteries) to spasm. This narrows the blood vessels and decreases the amount of oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood that is able to get to the heart muscle.
In clinical studies that looked at both the benefits and risks of Imitrex, heart problems were seen in rare cases (less than 1 percent). The risk of heart problems was greater, however, in those with a history of heart disease or those with risk factors for heart disease. Heart problems were often quite serious and, in some cases, even resulted in loss of life. Heart problems seen with Imitrex include:
- A temporary lack of oxygen to the heart (myocardial ischemia)
- A heart attack (myocardial infarction)
- Changes in heart rhythm (arrhythmia)
- The heart stopping (cardiac arrest).