Compare Imitrex vs. Cafergot

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

Imitrex
(sumatriptan)

Cafergot
(ergotamine / caffeine)

Treats migraine headaches. Imitrex (Sumatriptan) is an excellent choice for acute migraine relief, but you might need another medication to prevent headaches.Treats migraine headaches. Cafergot (ergotamine / caffeine) can treat migraines, but you're more likely to have side effects.
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Reviews & ratings
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5.29Imitrex
Reviews for Imitrex (sumatriptan)
74%
of people (All ages) say Imitrex (sumatriptan) is worth it
68%
say it works well
19%
say it's a big hassle
Have you used Imitrex (sumatriptan)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it

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Have you used Cafergot (ergotamine / caffeine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
ImitrexCafergot
  • Pain and other pressure sensations 2%
  • Atypical sensations 1%
  • Paresthesia (all types) 1%
  • Sensation warm/cold 1%
  • Pain - location specified 1%
  • Malaise/fatigue 2%
  • Chest - pain/tightness/pressure and/or heaviness 1%
  • Neck/throat/jaw - pain/ tightness/pressure 2%
  • Other - pressure/tightness/ heaviness 1%
  • Vertigo 2%
More Imitrex side effects »

The Cafergot FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.

More about Cafergot side effects »
How it works
ImitrexCafergot
Imitrex (Sumatriptan) is a triptan medication that treats migraine headaches. It releases serotonin, which lowers the inflammation that causes headaches.Cafergot (ergotamine / caffeine) is a combination of ergotamine and caffeine. It tightens the blood vessels in your brain to relieve the pain of your headaches.
Type of medication
ImitrexCafergot
Prescription only
Prescription only
Available as
ImitrexCafergot
  • Pill
  • Injection
  • Nasal spray
  • Pill
  • Suppository
Used for
ImitrexCafergot
Risk factors for serious side effects
ImitrexCafergot
  • 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 »
    • Overdosing Cafergot (ergotamine / caffeine)
    • Taking triptans (Imitrex, Axert, Maxalt, Amerge, Frova) for migraines
    • Taking Cafergot (ergotamine / caffeine) regularly for months
      Detailed Cafergot (ergotamine / caffeine) risks & warnings »
      Pregnancy

      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.

      Research studies with real people or animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. If you’re pregnant, the risks to your unborn baby outweigh the benefits.

      Sleep
      ImitrexCafergot
      • Imitrex (Sumatriptan) can make you drowsy, so avoid activities that need you to be fully alert until you know how it affects you.
      No sleep related info.
      Upsides and benefits
      ImitrexCafergot
      • 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.
      • Cafergot (ergotamine / caffeine) works better than other medicines if your migraines usually last more than 2 days or if you have more frequent migraines.
      Downsides and risks
      ImitrexCafergot
      • 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.
      • Cafergot (ergotamine / caffeine) can't stop migraines from happening. They can only treat them.
      • Cafergot (ergotamine / caffeine) can only be used for migraines. It doesn't work for other types of headaches.
      • Smoking or using products that contain nicotine can make Cafergot (ergotamine / caffeine) less effective.
      Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
      ImitrexCafergot
      • 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.
      • Take Cafergot (ergotamine / caffeine) as soon as you feel the migraine coming on.
      • You might be more sensitive to cold when you take Cafergot (ergotamine / caffeine) since it slows down the circulation of your blood in your skin, fingers and toes. Dress warmly.
      • If you have to take more than 6 tablets or 2 suppositories a day or 10 tablets or 5 suppositories in a week of Cafergot (ergotamine / caffeine), talk to your doctor.
      • Don't smoke tobacco if you're taking Cafergot (ergotamine / caffeine).
      • Keep the suppository of Cafergot (ergotamine / caffeine) in the fridge.
      Learn more
      More about ImitrexSide effectsReviews & ratingsFDA package insert
      Have you used Imitrex (sumatriptan)?
      Worth itNot sureNot worth it
      More about CafergotSide effectsAlternativesFDA package insert
      Have you used Cafergot (ergotamine / caffeine)?
      Worth itNot sureNot worth it