Compare Maxalt vs. Imitrex

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

Maxalt (Rizatriptan)

Prescription only

Imitrex (Sumatriptan)

Prescription only
Treats migraine headaches.

Maxalt (Rizatriptan) is great for relieving short migraines, but doesn't work as well for long-lasting headaches.

3.8/ 5 average rating with 26 reviewsforMaxalt
Treats migraine headaches.

Imitrex (Sumatriptan) is an excellent choice for acute migraine relief, but you might need another medication to prevent headaches.

3.9/ 5 average rating with 31 reviewsforImitrex
Upsides
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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.
Used for
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Dissolving tablet
  • Pill
  • Injection
  • Nasal spray
Price
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Reviews
26 reviews so far
81%
saidit'sworth it
62%
saiditworked well
19%
saidit'sa big hassle

Have you used Maxalt (Rizatriptan)?

Leave a review
31 reviews so far
74%
saidit'sworth it
68%
saiditworked well
19%
saidit'sa big hassle

Have you used Imitrex (Sumatriptan)?

Leave a review
Side effects
The Maxalt (Rizatriptan) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
6possible side effects
  • Pain and other pressure sensations
    6%
  • Atypical sensations
    5%
  • Paresthesia (all types)
    3%
  • Sensation warm/cold
    3%
  • Pain - location specified
    2%
  • Malaise/fatigue
    2%
See more detailed side effects
Risks and risk factors
  • Tightening of blood vessels (myocardial angina, ischemia, or infarction)
    • History of heart problems
    • High blood pressure
    • High cholesterol
    • Diabetes
    • Being overweight or obese
    • Smoking
  • Stroke
    • History of heart problems
    • High blood pressure
    • High cholesterol
    • Diabetes
    • Being overweight or obese
    • Smoking
  • Stomach bleeding
  • Serotonin syndrome
    • Patients taking SSRIs and SNRIs
  • High blood pressure
    • History of high blood pressure
  • Seizures
    • History of seizures
  • Phenylketonuria (PKU)
    • Phenylketonuria (PKU)
See more detailed risks and warnings
  • Tightening of blood vessels (myocardial angina, ischemia, or infarction)
    • History of heart problems
    • High blood pressure
    • High cholesterol
    • Diabetes
    • Being overweight or obese
    • Smoking
  • Stroke
    • History of heart problems
    • High blood pressure
    • High cholesterol
    • Diabetes
    • Being overweight or obese
    • Smoking
  • Stomach bleeding
  • Serotonin syndrome
    • Patients taking SSRIs and SNRIs
  • High blood pressure
    • History of high blood pressure
  • Seizures
    • History of seizures
See more detailed risks and warnings