Headache Home > Imitrex

Imitrex is a prescription drug used for the treatment of migraine headaches once they start. The drug does not help prevent migraines. A migraine occurs when some of the blood vessels in the head become dilated. This medication works by narrowing these blood vessels, helping return them to their normal state. Tingling, dizziness, and chest discomfort are a few common side effects of this drug. Imitrex -- which comes in a tablet form, a nasal spray, and an injection -- should be taken only during a migraine, not on a regular basis.

What Is Imitrex?

Imitrex® (sumatriptan succinate) is a prescription medication that is used to treat migraine headaches. Imitrex will not help to prevent migraines, but it can help to treat a migraine that is already occurring. The injectable form of the drug is also approved for the acute treatment of cluster headaches.
(Click Imitrex Uses for more information on what it is used for, including possible off-label uses.)

Manufacturer of Imitrex

The medication is made by GlaxoSmithKline.

How Does It Work?

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 can 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 migraine symptoms.


In one study, 52 to 62 percent of people with migraines had no (or mild) pain within two hours of taking Imitrex tablets, compared to only 27 percent who did not take Imitrex. Within four hours, as many as 79 percent of people who had taken Imitrex had migraine relief, compared to just 38 percent of people not taking it. Similar results were seen in studies of Imitrex Nasal Spray and Imitrex Injection.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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