Compare Onzetra vs. Zomig

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



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.Treats migraines. Triptans are the first-choice to treat migraines. Zomig (zolmitriptan) works just as well as other triptans for migraines.
Reviews & ratings
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Have you used Onzetra (sumatriptan)?
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Have you used Zomig (zolmitriptan)?
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Side effects
  • Stuffy nose 2%
  • Runny nose 3%
  • Discomfort in the nose 10%
  • Changes in taste 17%
More Onzetra side effects »
  • Heaviness other than chest/neck 1%
  • Pressure, tightness or heaviness 2%
  • Indigestion 1%
  • Sweating 1%
  • Chest pain, tightness or pressure 2%
  • Dry mouth 1%
  • Warm or cold sensation 1%
  • Sleepiness 3%
  • Tingling or prickling sensation 5%
More Zomig side effects »
How it works
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.Zomig (zolmitriptan) is a triptan. It prevents the enlargement of blood vessels in your brain, which causes migraines.
Type of medication
Prescription onlyNo lower cost generic availablePrescription onlyLower-cost generic available
Available as
  • Nasal powder
  • Pill
  • Dissolving tablet
  • Nasal spray
Used for
Risk factors for serious side effects
  • 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 »
  • Heart disease
  • history of chest pain/angina
  • uncontrolled high blood pressure
  • History of a stroke
  • Using Zomig (zolmitriptan) or other migraine treatment medications for 10 or more days a month
Detailed Zomig (zolmitriptan) risks & warnings »

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
  • 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.
  • Zomig (zolmitriptan) is is a first choice treatment to treat severe migraines.
  • There are different forms of Zomig (zolmitriptan) available, including a dissolving pill and a nasal spray if you have trouble swallowing during a migraine attack.
  • The regular and dissolving pill forms of Zomig (zolmitriptan) are available as generics.
Downsides and risks
  • 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.
  • If you're taking the nasal spray form of Zomig (zolmitriptan), you have to follow the instructions exactly or you won't get the full dose of medicine.
  • The nasal spray form of Zomig (zolmitriptan) is only available as brand name, so it can be expensive.
  • If you have heart disease or history of stroke, Zomig (zolmitriptan) may not be the best choice for you. Talk to your doctor about your medical history.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
  • 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.
  • Doesn't prevent migraines.
  • Use as soon as you feel a migraine starting. You can take another dose 2 hours later, but don't take more than 10 mg total in 24 hours.
  • Don't use it excessively since it can cause you to have more headaches. Talk to your doctor if you are having more than 4 migraines in a month.
Learn more
More about OnzetraSide effectsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Onzetra (sumatriptan)?
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More about ZomigSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Zomig (zolmitriptan)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it