Compare Maxalt vs. Cafergot

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

Maxalt
(Rizatriptan)

Cafergot
(ergotamine / caffeine)

Treats migraine headaches. Maxalt (Rizatriptan) is great for relieving short migraines, but doesn't work as well for long-lasting headaches.Treats migraine headaches. Cafergot (ergotamine / caffeine) can treat migraines, but you're more likely to have side effects.
Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
5.27Maxalt
Reviews for Maxalt
81%
of people (All ages) say Maxalt is worth it
62%
say it works well
19%
say it's a big hassle
Have you used Maxalt (Rizatriptan)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it

Not enough reviews for this treatment. Help someone out, leave a review!

Have you used Cafergot (ergotamine / caffeine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
MaxaltCafergot

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

FDA side effect reports for Maxalt »

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

More about Cafergot side effects »
How it works
MaxaltCafergot
Maxalt (Rizatriptan) 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
MaxaltCafergot
Prescription onlyLower-cost generic availablePrescription onlyLower-cost generic available
Available as
MaxaltCafergot
  • Pill
  • Dissolving tablet
  • Pill
  • Suppository
Used for
MaxaltCafergot
Risk factors for serious side effects
MaxaltCafergot
  • History of heart problems
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Being overweight or obese
Detailed Maxalt (Rizatriptan) 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.

Upsides and benefits
MaxaltCafergot
  • 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.
  • 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
MaxaltCafergot
  • 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.
  • 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
MaxaltCafergot
  • 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.
  • 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 MaxaltSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Maxalt (Rizatriptan)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about CafergotSide effectsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Cafergot (ergotamine / caffeine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it