Atenolol vs. Imitrex

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Scroll horizontally → to see comparisons



Lowers blood pressure and controls heart rate. Tenormin (Atenolol) is good for controlling chest pain and treating heart failure and heart attack with fewer side effects than other beta blockers. You have to take it on an empty stomach, and you can't miss doses.Treats migraine headaches. Imitrex (Sumatriptan) is an excellent choice for acute migraine relief, but you might need another medication to prevent headaches.
How it works
Tenormin (Atenolol) is a selective beta blocker that works specifically on the heart. It lowers blood pressure by slowing down the heart and making it less work to pump.Imitrex (Sumatriptan) is a triptan medication that treats migraine headaches. It releases serotonin, which lowers the inflammation that causes headaches.
Type of medication
Beta blocker
Prescription only
Prescription only
Available as
  • Pill
  • Pill
  • Injection
  • Nasal spray
Used for (click to learn more)
Find lowest prices
Powered by GoodRxSave on your next prescription. Be sure you’re getting the lowest price for your medication, even if you have insurance.
Reviews & ratings
Button Group. All currently active
Button Group. All currently active
Reviews for Tenormin (Atenolol)
of people say Tenormin (Atenolol) is worth it
say it works well
say it's a big hassle
Reviews for Imitrex (Sumatriptan)
+20% vs. Tenormin (Atenolol)
+25% vs. Tenormin (Atenolol)
+1% vs. Tenormin (Atenolol)
Side effects
  • Tiredness 13%
  • Dizziness 7%
  • Cold extremities 7%
  • Low mood disorder 3%
  • Vivid dreams 2%
  • Shortness of breath 2%
  • Leg pain 2%
  • Nausea 2%
  • Diarrhea 1%
  • Fatigue 1%
More Atenolol side effects »
  • Pain and other pressure sensations 4%
  • Paresthesia (all types) 3%
  • Atypical sensations 2%
  • Chest - pain/tightness/pressure and/or heaviness 1%
  • Pain - location specified 1%
  • Sensation warm/cold 1%
  • Other - pressure/tightness/ heaviness 1%
More Imitrex side effects »
Risk factors for serious side effects
  • Suddenly stopping Tenormin (Atenolol)
    • Taking calcium channel blockers
    • Major surgery requiring anesthesia
    • Diabetes
      • Taking clonidine
      Detailed Tenormin (Atenolol) risks & warnings »
      • History of heart problems
      • High blood pressure
      • High cholesterol
      • Diabetes
      • Being overweight or obese
      • Smoking
      • History of heart problems
      • High blood pressure
      • High cholesterol
      • Diabetes
      • Being overweight or obese
      • Smoking
        • Patients taking SSRIs and SNRIs
        • History of high blood pressure
        • History of seizures
        Detailed Imitrex (Sumatriptan) risks & warnings »
        Pregnancy category
        DFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

        Research studies with real people found harmful effects on unborn babies, but the benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

        See the FDA package insert
        CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

        Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

        See the FDA package insert
        No specific alcohol-related info.No specific alcohol-related info.
        No specific food-related info.No specific food-related info.
        Kidneys and liver
        No specific kidneys and liver-related info.No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
        No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
        No specific sleep-related info.No specific sleep-related info.
        No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.
        Upsides and benefits
        • A first-choice treatment to prevent chest pain (angina).
        • A first-choice treatment for heart failure and heart attack.
        • At lower doses, Atenolol has fewer side effects than most beta blockers because it targets the heart and doesn't cross into the brain and central nervous system.
        • Comes in several forms. Ask your doctor if you should use the pill, nasal spray, patch, or injection.
        • A combination of forms can be used if symptoms do not improve.
        • The nasal spray and injectable forms work very quickly.
        • It's generally safe to use if you are pregnant.
        • Comes in a generic form, so it can be pretty cheap.
        Downsides and risks
        • You have to take Atenolol on an empty stomach.
        • Taking a beta blocker might make you feel more tired or out of breath during exercise or normal daily routines. This gets better for most people, but for some might not go away.
        • Not a first-choice treatment for high blood pressure according to the latest guidelines, except if you have heart failure or heart disease. As a second choice, your doctor might add it to medicines you're already taking if your blood pressure is still too high.
        • You can't miss doses. Stopping Atenolol suddenly can cause your blood pressure to go up suddenly, which raises the risk of heart attack and stroke.
        • Can hide symptoms of low blood sugar if you're diabetic.
        • The oral and nasal versions of Imitrex (Sumatriptan) have an unpleasant after-taste.
        • Does not prevent migraine headaches; it only treats them once they start.
        • Must wait 1 hour before using second injection.
        • Can cause rebound (more) headaches if Imitrex (Sumatriptan) is used too often.
        • Need to have your blood pressure checked often, especially if you're pregnant.
        Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
        • Take it on an empty stomach.
        • Can cause dizziness in the first few days.
        • Check your blood pressure 1 week after starting this medicine, and tell your doctor if it hasn't improved.
        • Can cause fatigue and insomnia.
        • Can hide symptoms of low blood sugar. Be careful if you're diabetic.
        • Don't stop taking this medicine suddenly.
        • Take it as soon as your headache starts.
        • If you use the nasal spray, be sure to blow your nose before using it.
        • If you use the patch, put it on a dry area free of scars, tattoos, or other cuts and scrapes. Be sure to press the button to activate it.
        • If you use the injection, you can use a second injection if you still have a headache after an hour. If you have symptoms 2 hours after the injection, switch to the pill version.
        • Imitrex (Sumatriptan) can make you drowsy, so avoid activities that need you to be fully alert until you know how it affects you.
        • Lie down in a dark room after taking Imitrex (Sumatriptan) to help ease the pain.
        Learn more
        More about AtenololSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
        More about ImitrexSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert