Compare Imitrex vs. Maxalt

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

Imitrex
(sumatriptan)

Maxalt
(rizatriptan)

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. Maxalt (Rizatriptan) is great for relieving short migraines, but doesn't work as well for long-lasting headaches.
Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
5.29Imitrex
Reviews for Imitrex
74%
of people (All ages) say Imitrex 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
Reviews for Maxalt
81%
-7% worse vs. Imitrex
62%
+6% better vs. Imitrex
19%
Same vs. Imitrex
Have you used Maxalt (rizatriptan)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
ImitrexMaxalt
  • 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 »

We haven’t found good data for Maxalt side effects.

FDA side effect reports for Maxalt »
How it works
ImitrexMaxalt
Imitrex (Sumatriptan) is a triptan medication that treats migraine headaches. It releases serotonin, which lowers the inflammation that causes headaches.Maxalt (Rizatriptan) is a triptan medication that treats migraine headaches. It releases serotonin, which lowers the inflammation that causes headaches.
Type of medication
ImitrexMaxalt
Prescription onlyPrescription only
Available as
ImitrexMaxalt
  • Pill
  • Injection
  • Nasal spray
  • Pill
  • Dissolving tablet
Used for
ImitrexMaxalt
Risk factors for serious side effects
ImitrexMaxalt
  • History of heart problems
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Being overweight or obese
Detailed Imitrex (sumatriptan) risks & warnings »
  • History of heart problems
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Being overweight or obese
Detailed Maxalt (rizatriptan) 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 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.

Sleep
ImitrexMaxalt
  • 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
ImitrexMaxalt
  • 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.
  • Triptans like Maxalt (Rizatriptan) are considered the first-choice treatment to relieve moderate to severe migraine-type headaches.
  • It can also be used to treat tension-type headaches.
  • Not all triptans work the same way for people, so you can try multiple ones to find the right medication for you.
  • You don't need to drink water with the orally disintegrating tablet for it to work, so this could be a good medication for people who can't keep water down when they have a migraine.
Downsides and risks
ImitrexMaxalt
  • 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.
  • Maxalt (Rizatriptan) doesn’t prevent migraines or tension headaches, but only works once the headache starts.
  • It can cause rebound headaches if it’s used too often.
  • You need to wait at least 2 hours after your first dose to take a second dose.
  • May not be the best choice if you have long, drawn-out headaches. Ask your doctor about other triptans that can last longer than Maxalt (Rizatriptan).
  • Not a good choice if you have heart disease or if you’re pregnant or breast-feeding.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
ImitrexMaxalt
  • 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 Maxalt (Rizatriptan) as soon as you feel you’re getting a headache or experience warning signs like being sensitive to light or sound.
  • If you're taking other medicines to control your headaches (like propranolol), the dose of Maxalt (Rizatriptan) will be different.
  • Let your doctor know if your headaches don’t go away after taking [name-common] or if you have more than 4 migraines per month.
  • It’s available in two different dosage forms, a tablet you take by mouth and an orally disintegrating tablet (Maxalt-MLT) you place on your tongue to let it dissolve.
  • Lie down in a dark room after taking Maxalt (Rizatriptan) to help ease pain. Ask your doctor about other medicines that can help prevent your headaches.
Learn more
More about ImitrexSide effectsReviews & ratingsFDA package insert
Have you used Imitrex (sumatriptan)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about MaxaltSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Maxalt (rizatriptan)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it