Tenex vs. Imitrex

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

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Treats ADHD and lowers blood pressure. Tenex (Guanfacine) can be used to treat both blood pressure and ADHD, but it's not recommended as a first-line treatment for either problem.Treats migraine headaches. Imitrex (Sumatriptan) is an excellent choice for acute migraine relief, but you might need another medication to prevent headaches.
How it works
Tenex (Guanfacine) is a centrally-acting alpha agonist medication. It lowers blood pressure by slowing down the heart rate and relaxing the blood vessels. It's not clear how Tenex (Guanfacine) works in ADHD, but it's used when stimulants haven't worked or can't be used in people.Imitrex (Sumatriptan) is a triptan medication that treats migraine headaches. It releases serotonin, which lowers the inflammation that causes headaches.
Type of medication
Alpha agonist
Prescription only
Prescription only
Available as
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Pill
  • Injection
  • Nasal spray
Used for (click to learn more)
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Reviews & ratings
Button Group. All currently active
Button Group. All currently active
Reviews for Imitrex (Sumatriptan)
+2% vs. Tenex (Guanfacine)
+23% vs. Tenex (Guanfacine)
-15% vs. Tenex (Guanfacine)
Side effects
  • Drowsiness 31%
  • Fatigue 8%
  • Dizziness 7%
  • Headache 5%
More Tenex side effects »
  • Pain and other pressure sensations 4%
  • Paresthesia (all types) 3%
  • Atypical sensations 2%
  • Chest - pain/tightness/pressure and/or heaviness 1%
  • Pain - location specified 1%
  • Sensation warm/cold 1%
  • Other - pressure/tightness/ heaviness 1%
More Imitrex side effects »
Risk factors for serious side effects
  • Taking other medications that cause sedation or sleepiness
  • Stopping Tenex (Guanfacine) suddenly to treat high blood pressure
Detailed Tenex (Guanfacine) risks & warnings »
  • History of heart problems
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Smoking
  • History of heart problems
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Smoking
    • Patients taking SSRIs and SNRIs
    • History of high blood pressure
    • History of seizures
    Detailed Imitrex (Sumatriptan) risks & warnings »
    Pregnancy category
    BFDA pregnancy category (Probably safe)

    Research studies with animals haven’t found a risk to unborn babies, but it hasn’t been properly studied in humans.

    See the FDA package insert
    CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

    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.

    See the FDA package insert
    • Limit the amount of alcohol you drink while taking this.
    No specific alcohol-related info.
    No specific food-related info.No specific food-related info.
    Kidneys and liver
    No specific kidneys and liver-related info.No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
    No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
    No specific sleep-related info.No specific sleep-related info.
    No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.
    Upsides and benefits
    • The same medication treats two different things, high blood pressure and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
    • It's not a "controlled medication".
    • Used to control ADHD when stimulant medications haven't worked or can't be used due to other medical problems.
    • Available as a generic medication, so it should be more affordable than other options.
    • 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 and risks
    • Doesn't control ADHD as well as stimulants do, so it's used as a second-line medication.
    • Not a preferred drug to control blood pressure.
    • Can't be stopped suddenly, especially for blood pressure, since the blood pressure can dramatically increase.
    • 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.
    Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
    • Don't stop taking Tenex (Guanfacine) without talking to your doctor first.
    • Limit the amount of alcohol you drink while taking this.
    • Drink plenty of liquids and don't get overheated while taking Tenex (Guanfacine).
    • You can feel sleepy the first few times you take it, or when your dose is increased. Don't drive or do anything that requires concentration until you know how the medication affects your body.
    • Can take up to 2 weeks for the maximum effect.
    • 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.
    Learn more
    More about TenexSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
    More about ImitrexSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert