Headache Home > Imitrex Uses

Imitrex is used to relieve the symptoms of a migraine headache once it has started. The medicine is not, however, effective at preventing migraines from occurring. Imitrex works by narrowing blood vessels of the head that become dilated during a migraine headache. "Off-label" Imitrex uses include the treatment of cluster headaches. Imitrex has not been adequately studied in people less than 18 years of age.

What Is Imitrex Used For?

Imitrex® (sumatriptan succinate) is a prescription medication used to treat migraine headaches. The injectable form of Imitrex is also approved for the acute treatment of cluster headache (see Cluster Headache Treatment).

Using Imitrex for Migraines

Migraine headaches are different from other headaches in many ways. Some of the most common migraine symptoms include:
  • Headache pain on one side of the head
  • Sensitivity to light or sound
  • Throbbing headache pain
  • Upset stomach (nausea) and vomiting
  • Unusual vision changes.
Some people may have an aura before their migraines occur. An aura can be any unusual sign that a migraine is about to happen, including vision changes, numbness, tingling, or speech changes. The most common type of aura is visual (seeing spots, tunnel vision, or other vision changes). Some people have migraine triggers, which are certain foods, drinks, or situations that seem to lead to a migraine (see Migraine Diet for more information).
Imitrex is approved for treating migraines with or without aura. Imitrex is part of a class of migraine medications called 5-HT agonists (or more commonly known as "triptans"). During a migraine headache, some of the blood vessels in the head become dilated (wider than they usually are). Imitrex works by narrowing these blood vessels, helping them return to their normal state. This action helps to relieve the symptoms of a migraine.
Because of the way it works, Imitrex will not help for migraine prevention. Imitrex is taken to lessen the pain and other symptoms of a migraine once it starts.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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