Compare Maxalt vs. Onzetra

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

Maxalt
(rizatriptan)

Onzetra
(sumatriptan)

Treats migraine headaches. Maxalt (Rizatriptan) is great for relieving short migraines, but doesn't work as well for long-lasting headaches.Treats migraine headaches. Onzetra (sumatriptan) is the only medicine that's available in a breath-powered nose powder to treat migraines. However, it can be expensive compared to other medicines.
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

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Have you used Onzetra (sumatriptan)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
MaxaltOnzetra

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

FDA side effect reports for Maxalt »
  • Changes in taste 17%
  • Discomfort in the nose 10%
  • Runny nose 3%
  • Stuffy nose 2%
More Onzetra side effects »
How it works
MaxaltOnzetra
Maxalt (Rizatriptan) is a triptan medication that treats migraine headaches. It releases serotonin, which lowers the inflammation that causes headaches.Onzetra (sumatriptan) is a selective serotonin receptor agonist called a triptan. It's believed that migraine headaches happen when blood vessels are too open and allow too much blood in the brain. Onzetra (sumatriptan) tightens the blood vessels, which relieves the pain.
Type of medication
MaxaltOnzetra
Prescription onlyPrescription only
Available as
MaxaltOnzetra
  • Pill
  • Dissolving tablet
  • Nasal powder
Used for
MaxaltOnzetra
Risk factors for serious side effects
MaxaltOnzetra
  • History of heart problems
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Being overweight or obese
Detailed Maxalt (rizatriptan) risks & warnings »
  • Heart disease
  • History of chest pain
  • Uncontrolled high blood pressure
  • History of a stroke
  • Using Onzetra (sumatriptan) for more than 10 days a month
Detailed Onzetra (sumatriptan) 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.

Upsides and benefits
MaxaltOnzetra
  • 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.
  • Compared to pills, Onzetra (sumatriptan) is better absorbed in the body and good if it's hard to take pills.
  • Onzetra (sumatriptan) is a first choice medicine to treat migraines.
  • There is a copay program available that can make Onzetra (sumatriptan) cheaper.
Downsides and risks
MaxaltOnzetra
  • 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.
  • It can be very expensive. There are other forms of this same medicine that are much cheaper, including a nose spray.
  • You have to use two nosepieces to get the full dose of Onzetra (sumatriptan), which can be hard to remember.
  • Onzetra (sumatriptan) is only available in one strength.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
MaxaltOnzetra
  • 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.
  • Follow the instructions exactly as shown by the package insert and your doctor or pharmacist; otherwise, Onzetra (sumatriptan) won't work correctly and you won't get any medicine.
  • Onzetra (sumatriptan) can only treat a migraine that's already happening. You can't use it to stop migraines from starting.
  • You have to use 2 nosepieces of Onzetra (sumatriptan) to get the full dose of medicine.
  • Don't use more than 2 full doses (4 nosepieces) in a 24-hour period.
  • If you're using more than 8 doses of Onzetra (sumatriptan) a month, talk to your doctor to see if you should try another medicine.
  • You can only use each nosepiece of Onzetra (sumatriptan) once. Throw it away in the trash after you've checked that you used the medicine correctly.
Learn more
More about MaxaltSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Maxalt (rizatriptan)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about OnzetraSide effectsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Onzetra (sumatriptan)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it