If you havemigraine, your doctor may suggest Imitrex (sumatriptano) as a treatment option. It is a prescription medication used to treat migraines (with or withoutaura) in adults. The injectable form of this drug is also used to treatcluster headachesin adults.
besides oneinjection given under the skin, Imitrex is also available as an oral tablet and nasal spray.
Imitrex belongs to a group of medicines calledtriptaner.
This article describes Imitrex dosages, as well as its forms, strengths, and how to take it. To learn more about Imitrex, see thisin-depth article.
Observation:This article covers typical Imitrex dosages provided by the drug manufacturer. However, when using Imitrex, always take the dose prescribed by your doctor.
The following information describes the usual doses of Imitrex. But be sure to follow your doctor's dosage instructions.
What are the forms of Imitrex?
Imitrex comes in the following forms:
- an oral tablet (a pill you swallow)
- a single-dose nasal spray
- a single-dose vial of liquid solution that you injectunder your skinusing a syringe
- a pre-filled, single-dose cartridge of liquid solution that you inject under the skin with an Imitrex STATdose pen (a reusable auto-injector device)
What are the strengths of Imitrex?
Imitrex oral tablets are available in three strengths:
- 25 milligrams (mg)
- 50 mg
- 100 mg
Imitrex nasal spray units contain a dose that you spray into one nostril. This device comes in two strengths:
- 20 mg
Imitrex vials can only be used once to inject a dose under the skin using a syringe. (Imitrex vials do not come with syringes or needles.) Each vial contains:
- 6 mg of the drug in 0.5 milliliters (ml) of solution
Imitrex cartridges contain a single dose of liquid solution that you inject under the skin. (You do this using a reusable autoinjector device called the Imitrex STATdose pen.*) The cartridges come in two strengths:
- 4 mg em 0.5 ml
- 6 mg em 0.5 ml
* Imitrex STATdose pens come with two single-dose cartridges and a carrying case. Your doctor can only prescribe refills for the cartridges, which come in packs of two.
What are the typical doses of Imitrex?
Your doctor will usually prescribe a low or moderate starting dose of Imitrex. Then they'll adjust your dose over time to reach the right amount for you. Your doctor will prescribe the lowest dose that achieves the desired result.
Remember that Imitrex is not a medicine that you take every day. You only get it if you have onemigraineorCluster headachesepisode.
The information below outlines commonly used or recommended dosages.But make sure you take the dose your doctor has prescribed for you.Your doctor will determine the best dose to suit your needs.
Dosage for migraine with or without aura
You should take a dose of Imitrex at the first sign of a migraine attack. If your migraine symptoms disappear completely, you do not need to take any more doses.
You can take a second dose if:
- your first dose does not completely relieve your migraine symptoms
- your migraine symptoms go away but return
You should not take another dose:
- if the first dose of Imitrex does not help your migraine symptoms at all
- unless your doctor advises you to do so
The recommended second dose of Imitrex depends on which form of the drug you are taking, as follows:
- Imitrex tablets or nasal spray:You can repeat your dose at least 2 hours after the previous dose if your migraine symptoms have not gone away.
- Imitrex injections:You can repeat the dose at least 1 hour after the previous dose if the migraine symptoms have not gone away.
If your migraine symptoms are still not completely relieved after a second dose, you can repeat the above steps. But you should not take more than the maximum dose of this medicine. (See chart below.)
The usual dose of Imitrex to treat a migraine episode depends on the form of the medicine. The table below summarizes the usual and maximum dose for each form of this medication. But be careful not to take more Imitrex than your doctor has prescribed for you.
Your doctor may suggest a dose of less than 6 mg of liquid solution (for example, in case of certain side effects). If so, they will give you instructions on how to inject Imitrex.
|Form of Imitrex||Possible dose at onset of migraine||Maximum dose per 24 hours|
|oral tablet||25 mg|
|injection using cartridges with the STATdose autoinjector||4mg|
|injection using vial and syringe||1 mg to 6 mg||12 mg|
* To take a 10 mg dose of Imitrex Nasal Spray, use two units of 5 mg Nasal Spray, one in each nostril.
Dosage for Cluster Headaches
Only Imitrex injection is used to treat cluster headaches.
You will inject a 6 mg dose of Imitrexunder your skinwhen a cluster headache occurs. If your headache disappears completely, you don't need to take any more doses.
You can repeat your dose at least 1 hour after the previous dose if:
- your headache has not gone away completely
- your headache goes away but comes back
You should not take another dose:
- if the first dose of Imitrex does not help your headache at all
- unless your doctor advises you to do so
The maximum injection dose of Imitrex for cluster headaches is 12 mg in a 24-hour period.
Is Imitrex used for a long time?
No. Imitrex is a short-term treatment. You only get it when onemigraineorCluster headachesepisode occurs. Imitrex does not prevent migraine attacks or cluster headaches. If you and your doctor determine that Imitrex works for you, you will only take it when you have an episode.
Imitrex can be used to treat up to four episodes of migraine or cluster headache per month. Talk to your doctor if you have more than four a month. They can tell you more about long-term treatment options that may be right for you.
If you have medical conditions that affect yourlever, your doctor may prescribe a lower dose of Imitrex for you.
This section describes how to take or use Imitrex, which comes in several forms.
For information about the expiration, storage and disposal of Imitrex, seeThis article.
How to take your oral dose
Imitrex tablets are taken by mouth, with or without food.
You must not crush, cut or chew Imitrex tablets. They must be swallowed whole with water.
If you have difficulty swallowing the tablets whole, seeThis articlefor tips that may help.
How to take your nasal dose
Each unit of Imitrex Nasal Spray contains a dose that you inject into one nostril.*
You can find detailed instructions for Imitrex nasal spray at the end of the medicineprescribing information. Instructions are also provided packaged with each unit of nasal spray.
Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions about using Imitrex nasal spray.
* It is possible that you use two units of 5 mg nasal spray, one in each nostril. But that's only if your doctor prescribes a 10mg dose of Imitrex Nasal Spray for you.
How to get your injection
You willinject Imitrex under the skinouter thigh or outer upper arm area. Be sure to select an area with a layer of fat.
Your doctor or pharmacist will teach you how to inject yourself with the Imitrex STATdose pen. Instructions vary depending on whether you are using an Imitrex STATdose autoinjector or an Imitrex vial and syringe.
You can find detailed instructions for self-injection at the end of the medicineprescribing information. These instructions are also packaged with the medicine.
Get the answers below to common questions about Imitrex dosing.
Is there a maximum daily dose for Imitrex? What about a maximum monthly dose?
According to the drug manufacturer, you should not take more than the maximum daily dose of Imitrex.
The maximum dose per 24 hour period depends on the form of medicine you are taking and is as follows:
- Imitrex pill:no more than 200 milligrams (mg)
- Spray nasal Imitrex:not more than 40 mg
- Imitrex injection:not more than 12 mg
You can use Imitrex to treat up to fourmigraineorCluster headachesepisodes per month. Talk to your doctor if you have more than four a month. They may prescribe a different medication for your condition.
Does the higher dosage of Imitrex tablets (25 mg, 50 mg and 100 mg) mean they may work more effectively than other forms of the drug?
No, the dosage of the tablet does not necessarily affect the effectiveness of the medicine. However, some people find that one form of Imitrex works better for them than another. This depends on a person's symptoms during amigraineepisode. And the symptoms can vary from person to person.
Here are some examples to consider:
- If you havenausea and vomitduring a migraine attack, you may not be able to swallow a pill or hold it.
- If you have visual symptoms such asblurry vision, you may have trouble seeing well enough to give yourself ainjection.
Depending on your symptoms, your doctor may have you switch between forms of Imitrex. Talk to your doctor about which forms of Imitrex are best for you.
Only the injection form of Imitrex is used to treatcluster headaches.
The dose of Imitrex prescribed by your doctor may depend on several factors. These include:
- the type and severity of the condition you are using Imitrex to treat
- your age
- the form of Imitrex you are taking
- other conditions you may have (see "Dose adjustments" under "What is the dose of Imitrex?")
Imitrex is not a drug that you take every day. You only get it if you have onemigraineorCluster headachesepisode.
It is best to take Imitrex at the start of a migraine episode. Therefore, you should carry a supply of Imitrex with you wherever you go. That way, you'll be ready to take a dose as soon as symptoms start.
Please note that the autoinjector unit (called the Imitrex STATdose pen) comes with a carrying case that contains two single-dose cartridges for your convenience.
Do not use more Imitrex than prescribed by your doctor. Doing so can lead torebound headache(also calledoveruse of medication headache). With rebound headaches you may experience dailymigrainemore frequent migraine symptoms or episodes.
What to do if you take too much Imitrex
Contact your doctor immediately if you think you have taken too much Imitrex. You may also call 800-222-1222 to contact the American Association of Poison Control Centers or use theironline resource.But if you have severe symptoms, call 911 (or your local emergency number) or go to the nearest emergency room right away.
The above section describes typical doses provided by the drug manufacturer. If your doctor recommends Imitrex for you, he or she will prescribe the dose and form that is right for you.
Remember that you should not change your dose of Imitrex without your doctor's advice.Only use Imitrex exactly as prescribed. Talk to your doctor if you have questions or concerns about your current dose.
Here are some examples of questions you might want to ask your doctor:
- One form of Imitrex works faster than another to provide relief.migraineorCluster headachesepisodes?
- Would a higher dose of Imitrex work better for me?
- What should I do if my migraine or cluster headache symptoms are not completely relieved after taking the maximum dose of Imitrex?
If You Have Migraines, Consider Enrolling in Healthlineonline bulletinfor advice on the treatment and management of your condition.
If my doctor prescribes different forms of Imitrex for me, can I switch between them if mymigrainesymptoms are not completely relieved? If yes, what is the usual dose?
Depending on your symptoms, your doctor may recommend that you switch between forms of Imitrex. For example, if your migraines return after your first Imitrex injection, your doctor may recommend that you take loose Imitrex tablets. This can be up to 100 mg per day with an interval of at least 2 hours between tablet doses.
Specifically for cluster headaches, only the injection form of Imitrex is used.
Talk to your doctor about which forms of Imitrex are best for you. And be sure to follow your doctor's dosage instructions. You should not change medications or change your dose without first talking to your doctor.
Tanya Kertsman, PharmacistResponses represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.
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Disclaimer:Healthline has made every effort to ensure that all information is factually correct, comprehensive and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and experience of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions or side effects. The absence of warnings or other information about a particular drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or for all specific uses.