Imitrex (Sumatriptan) and/or alternatives
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General Information on Imitrex
Imitrex tablets are prescribed for acute treatment of migraine attacks in adults. The generic name of this drug is Sumatriptan succinate, and it helps relieve headaches and other symptoms of migraines such as vomiting, nausea and sensitivity to light or sound. The drug Sumatriptan belongs to a family of drugs called triptans. It affects serotonin levels, a natural chemical that narrows the blood vessels in the brain, and thus provides relief in migraines. You should buy Imitrex if your doctor has prescribed it only.
Imitrex Side Effects
Doctors prescribe Imitrex as its benefits outweigh its side effects. Many people do not experience any side effects after taking Imitrex, but the possibility of encountering side effects cannot be completely ruled out. Some patients may complain about numbness/prickling/tingling/heat, drowsiness, weakness, dizziness or a flushing sensation after taking the medication. You should immediately notify your doctor if any side effects persist or worsen as you may require medical attention. In some cases, patients may develop a serious allergic reaction such as itching/swelling, a rash on the face, tongue, or throat. You should immediately consult your doctor if you notice any allergic reaction after consuming Imitrex.
You should inform you doctor if you are allergic to Sumatriptan before you are recommended a dosage of Imitrex. You should also notify your doctor if you suffer from coronary heart disease, blood circulation problems, ischemic bowel disease, or headaches that are different from migraine headaches. Imitrex is also not ideal for you if you have had a heart attack or have a history of heart disease. It is necessary that your doctor is made aware of your detailed medical condition before he/she asks you to buy Imitrex.
Imitrex is available in the form of tablets of 25mg, 50mg and 100 mg of Sumatriptan (base). These Sumatriptan succinate tablets are known as Imitrex 25, Imitrex 50 and Imitrex 100. The dosage of Imitrex is prescribed on individual basis. Doctors usually weigh the benefits of a high dosage of Imitrex against its potential risk to a patient’s health. The patient’s reaction to the initial dosage of Imitrex also decides the cumulative dosage that can be prescribed to provide relief from migraine attacks. Generally, doctors prescribe an initial dosage of Imitrex 25mg or Imitrex 50mg. If the headache returns within 2 hours, the doctor may repeat the dosage after 2 hours. Doctors advise patients not to exceed the dosage of 1000mg of Imitrex on a daily basis.
Imitrex can cause adverse reactions if taken along with particular medicines. You should not take Imitrex if you are taking MAO inhibitors such as isocarboxazid and furazolidone phenelzine. You should talk to your doctor even if you have used MAO inhibitors in the past 2 weeks. You are advised not to start taking new medications or increase/decrease the dosage of any medication without consulting your doctor. The drug can react with other medications to cause adverse reaction that might prove fatal and so, every precaution should be taken to minimize side effects or prevent adverse reactions while taking Imitrex.
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What is a "Generic" medication/drug?
Generic drugs are medications that have comparable medicinal ingredients as the original brand name drug, but which are generally cheaper in price. Nearly 1 in 3 drugs dispensed are "generic". They undergo testing to ensure that they are similar to their "brand" counterparts in:
- Active Ingredient (e.g. "Pravastatin" is the active ingredient in brand name Pravachol)
- Dosage (e.g. 10 mg of the active ingredient)
- Safety (e.g. same or similar side effects, drug interactions)
- Performance (e.g. 10 mg of a "generic" can be substituted for 10 mg of the "brand" and have the same therapeutic result)
- Intended use (e.g. both "generic" and "brand" would be prescribed for the same conditions)
What this means is that "generic" medications can be used as a substitute of their brand equivalents with the comparable therapeutic results. There are a few exceptions (examples are outlined at the end of this page) and as always you should consult your physician before switching from a brand name medications to a generic or vice versa.
What differences are there between generic and brand?
While generics and brand equivalent drugs contain the same active ingredients, they may be different in the following ways:
- Appearance (e.g. the scoring or markings)
The color, shape and size of the medication come from the fillers that are added to the active ingredients to make the drug. These fillers that are added to the drug have no medical use and do not to change the effectiveness of the final product. A generic drug must contain comparable active ingredients and must have a comparable strength and dosage as the original brand name equivalent. Generic drugs can be more cost effective than purchasing the brand name.
Why do generics cost less than the brand name equivalents?
When a new drug is "invented", the company that discovered it has a patent on it that gives them the exclusive production rights for this medication. Once the patent expires in a country, other companies can bring the product to market under their own name. This patent prevents other companies from copying the drug during that time so they can earn back their Research and Development costs through being the exclusive supplier of the product. After the patent expires however, other companies can develop a "generic" version of the product. These versions generally are offered at much lower prices because the companies do not have the same development costs as the original company who developed the medication.
The main thing to realize here though is that the two products are therapeutically equivalent. They may look different, and be called something different.
How are Generic drugs tested to ensure quality and efficacy?
Generally speaking, the two most generally accepted methods to prove the safety of a generic version of a drug are to either repeat most of the chemistry, animal and human studies originally done, or to show that the drug performs comparably with the original brand name drug. This second option is called a "comparative bioavailability" study. During this type of study, volunteers are given the original drug, and then separately later the generic drug. The rates at which the drug is delivered to the patient (into their blood stream or otherwise absorbed) are measured to ensure they are the same. Because the same active ingredient is used the major concern is just that it delivers the common chemical(s) at the same rate so that they have the same effect. Please note that the methods that the manufacturers use may vary from country to country.