Compare Imitrex vs. Effexor

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

Imitrex
(Sumatriptan)

Effexor
(Venlafaxine)

Treats migraine headaches. Imitrex (Sumatriptan) is an excellent choice for acute migraine relief, but you might need another medication to prevent headaches.Improves mood and helps you relax. Effexor (Venlafaxine) is good for treating depression and anxiety. May work when other antidepressants haven't, it's but more likely to cause side effects and withdrawal symptoms than other antidepressants.
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Reviews & ratings
Button Group. All currently active
Button Group. All currently active
5.538461538461538Imitrex
Reviews for Imitrex (Sumatriptan)
77%
of people say Imitrex (Sumatriptan) is worth it
73%
say it works well
15%
say it's a big hassle
Reviews for Effexor (Venlafaxine)
61%
16% vs. Imitrex (Sumatriptan)
50%
23% vs. Imitrex (Sumatriptan)
22%
7% vs. Imitrex (Sumatriptan)
Side effects
ImitrexEffexor
  • 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 »
  • Nausea 42%
  • Drowsiness 22%
  • Dizziness 20%
  • Nervousness 17%
  • Sleep difficulty 16%
  • Loss of appetite 15%
  • Sweating 14%
  • Dry mouth 13%
  • Dry mouth 11%
  • Muscle weakness 10%
More Effexor side effects »
How it works
ImitrexEffexor
Imitrex (Sumatriptan) is a triptan medication that treats migraine headaches. It releases serotonin, which lowers the inflammation that causes headaches.Effexor (Venlafaxine) is a serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) antidepressant. It increases serotonin and norepinephrine activity in the brain, which regulate mood.
Type of medication
ImitrexEffexor
Antimigraine
Triptan
Prescription only
Antidepressant
Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI)
Prescription only
Available as
ImitrexEffexor
  • Pill
  • Injection
  • Nasal spray
  • Pill
  • Extended release
Used for (click to learn more)
ImitrexEffexor
How well it works for depression
The free Iodine Start program helps people track how well they are improving, and find the right antidepressant faster.
The free Iodine Start program (personal reports and coaching) is currently only for antidepressants. For now, you can read our pharmacist info about this medication.Learn more about Imitrex (Sumatriptan)

After 4 weeks using Start and Effexor (Venlafaxine), here’s how much better people feel.

Risk factors for serious side effects
ImitrexEffexor
  • 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 »
    • Age 24 years or younger
    • Using other medications that affect serotonin
    • Stopping Effexor (Venlafaxine) suddenly
    • History of high blood pressure
    • Taking other blood-thinning drugs
      • History of bipolar disorder
      • At risk for bipolar disorder
      Detailed Effexor (Venlafaxine) risks & warnings »
      Pregnancy category
      ImitrexEffexor
      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
      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
      Alcohol
      No specific alcohol-related info.No specific alcohol-related info.
      Food
      No specific food-related info.
      • You can take the extended-release form once a day with food either in the morning or in the evening at about the same time each day.
      Kidneys and liver
      No specific kidneys and liver-related info.No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
      Sex
      No specific sex-related info.
      • Can cause sexual side effects like low libido and an inability to orgasm or ejaculate.
      • Effexor (Venlafaxine) can cause lower sex drive or difficulty having an orgasm. If the problem persists after the first 2 to 3 months, you can talk to your doctor about alternative antidepressants or performance-enhancing medications.
      Sleep
      • Imitrex (Sumatriptan) can make you drowsy, so avoid activities that need you to be fully alert until you know how it affects you.
      • Causes more sleepiness than other antidepressants, so it's good for people who have trouble sleeping.
      • Stopping Effexor (Venlafaxine) suddenly may cause withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, anxiety, agitation, flu-like symptoms, trouble sleeping, and dizziness. Withdrawal symptoms usually occur within 3 days of stopping the medication, and go away within 1 to 2 weeks. Work with your doctor to gradually reduce your dose.
      Weight
      No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.
      Upsides and benefits
      ImitrexEffexor
      • 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.
      • Effective at relieving depression and anxiety symptoms.
      • Lowers relapse rates of depression.
      • Causes more sleepiness than other antidepressants, so it's good for people who have trouble sleeping.
      • Six out of ten people who use an antidepressant for the first time find that it works for them.
      • Might work when other antidepressants haven't worked since it affects two chemicals in the brain that impact your mood. Many other antidepressants affect only serotonin, but not norepinephrine too.
      Downsides and risks
      ImitrexEffexor
      • 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.
      • Can cause sexual side effects like low libido and an inability to orgasm or ejaculate.
      • Not the best option for people with high blood pressure.
      • Overdosing on this medication could be fatal.
      • It's more likely to cause nausea and vomiting or make you feel sick if you miss a dose than other antidepressants. Also causes more sleepiness than others.
      • Like most antidepressants, it can cause a higher risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior for people younger than 24.
      • The first antidepressant you try doesn't always work or it can cause side effects you really don't like. You might need to try a few different medications until you find one that works for you.
      Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
      ImitrexEffexor
      • 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.
      • Takes about 8 to 12 weeks to see the medication's full effects on your mood.
      • You can take the extended-release form once a day with food either in the morning or in the evening at about the same time each day.
      • Extended-release capsules should be swallowed whole. If you can’t swallow pills, open the capsule, sprinkle it on a spoonful of applesauce and then swallow it without chewing.
      • Stop taking it slowly to avoid getting withdrawal symptoms.
      • Tell your doctor if you notice sudden mood changes or unusual thoughts.
      Learn more
      More about ImitrexSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
      More about EffexorSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert