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Great Price on Sumatriptan (Imitrex) at Health Warehouse

HealthWarehouse, a licensed U.S. pharmacy based in Kentucky, charges even less for sumatriptan than Inhouse Pharmacy Europe, which I told you about last week. Bonus: it’s entirely legit and there’s no question if it’s legality, though you’ll need to send them a prescription.

I’ve ordered other meds from Health Warehouse and have been pleased with the service. The prices are low and shipping is prompt. The only drawback is that they don’t take manufacturer’s coupons.

Wherever you buy sumatriptan, you can try to simulate the effect of Treximet by taking naproxen sodium (Aleve) along with it. (See paragraph five of Save Money on Sumatriptan (Imitrex/Imigran/Treximet) for details.) Some people find mixing their own medication cocktail is as effective as Treximet, others swear by the all-in-one Treximet. It’s worth a try to save money, but be sure to let your doctor know what you’re up to — safety is even more important than frugality!

Thanks to The Daily Headache reader on Facebook who told me about HealthWarehouse’s price on sumatriptan. And thanks to Timothy who suggested asking your doctor for triptan samples at every visit and thanking them profusely for them. He also pointed out that if you take a low dose of a medication, you can ask your doctor to write a prescription for a higher dose and split the pill in half. This doesn’t work with every medication (some have a time-release coating, others aren’t tablets, others don’t come in a dose that’s easily halved, etc.), but it’s something to ask your doctor about.

If you know any other sources for good prices on sumatriptan — or any other meds! — please leave a comment. Your help is invaluable to me and to other readers as well.

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Save Money on Sumatriptan (Imitrex/Imigran/Treximet)

I’ve been debating posting this for months. I hesitate because I doubt getting triptans without a prescription from another country by mail order is legal, even though the drug is available over-the-counter in that country. On the other hand,  knowing of a resource for inexpensive triptans and not sharing it seems unfair to readers who delay or avoid treating migraines because of the high cost of abortive drugs. I’m sharing this with the caveat that the legality is fuzzy, so you’ll have to make that ethical decision for yourself. Here’s the FDA’s stance on drug importation.

Imitrex (Imigran in the UK) and Treximet are expensive. Even though sumatriptan, the main ingredient in both, is available as a generic, it’s still tough to find it for less than $3 for a 50 mg pill. Prices for higher doses or injections skyrocket from there. If you’re looking to save on Imitrex or Treximet, check into pricing at Inhouse Pharmacy Europe, which has 50 mg tablets of sumatriptan for $1.10 each. Higher doses and injections are also available for less than in the US. Because sumatriptan is available over-the-counter in the UK, which is the jurisdiction this pharmacy operates under, you don’t need a prescription to order it.

I can’t vouch for the company directly because I don’t use sumatriptan and haven’t ordered from them myself, but this recommendation comes from a friend and longtime reader who has been ordering from the company for at least five years without a problem. She says the company is very reliable and medications are never close to their expiration date. In fact, the website tells you the expiration date of the meds they are currently shipping. Shipping is free to the US and they provide package tracking information.

If you use Imitrex, you can substitute these directly according to the strength you are usually prescribed. They are the same thing.

If you use Treximet, you can try taking sumatriptan with 500 mg of the OTC painkiller naproxen sodium (Aleve) to approximate the drug. Treximet contains 85 mg of sumatriptan, while sumatriptan only comes in 50 mg and 100 mg, so you’ll have to choose which you prefer. GSK’s marketing materials say that having the two drugs combined into one tablet is more effective than taking each one separately. But if you’re holding off on taking triptans because they’re too expensive, you may be more likely to take them early in an attack (when they’re most effective) if they don’t cost an arm and a leg.

Not needing a prescription is a double-edged sword, of course. You still need to take them judiciously and watch out for medication overuse headache. Be sure you tell your doctor how frequently you’re taking them, even though you can get them without a prescription.

If you place an order with Inhouse Pharmacy Europe, please leave a comment letting readers know what your experience is. I hope it turns out to be a helpful source for helping readers afford these pricy meds.

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Generic Imitrex (Sumatriptan) Tablets & Injections Available in US

piggy bankTablet and injection versions of generic Imitrex (sumatriptan) are available in the US. Doses are 25mg, 50 mg, and 100mg tablets and 4mg and 6mg injections (kits or pre-filled syringes). Patients have reported prices between $35 and $200! Imitrex’s patent doesn’t actually expire until February; a reader suggested it might be less expensive then.

The generic hasn’t been as effective as the brand name drug for some patients. In Generic Imitrex (Sumatriptan) — Is it as Effective as Brand Name Imitrex, blogger Doc Shazam writes:

…I have taken 2 of “Dr. Reddy’s” generic sumatriptan tablets with almost no relief of headache symptoms, but a plethora of side effects, including aching muscles, nausea, “light headed” feeling and general dis-ease.

Read about other patients’ experiences in their comments on earlier posts on The Daily Headache:

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Generic Injectable Imitrex (Sumatriptan) Now Available

The generic version of Imitrex Injection (called sumatriptan) is now shipping in the US. I don’t know if it is available in other countries, nor do I know when/if the tablets will be available. I doubt all pharmacies have it in stock yet. I recommend calling your pharmacy before taking your prescription in.

From Par Phamaceutical’s press release:

Par Pharmaceutical Begins Shipment of Sumatriptan Injection
November 6, 2008 – Par Pharmaceutical Companies, Inc. today announced that it will begin shipping generic versions of Imitrex® Injection (sumatriptan succinate injection) 4mg and 6mg starter kits and 4mg and 6mg prefilled syringe cartridges to the trade immediately.  In addition, Par anticipates launching the 6mg vials early next year.

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Migraine Abortives (Triptans) & Serotonin Syndrome

Migraine abortive drugs called triptans can cause the potentially serious serotonin syndrome in rare cases, according to a study in the May 15 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. Serotonin syndrome is a known risk when combining antidepressants and triptans. The new study shows that triptans alone can cause serotonin syndrome.

Serotonin syndrome is most likely to happen when you first start taking the medication. It is very rare and, even if it does happen, the remedy is to stop taking the medication. According to Migraine Medications May Cause ‘Serotonin Syndrome’ in the Washington Post:

The average age for someone experiencing serotonin syndrome associated only with triptan therapy was 39.9 years, and the most common symptoms included tremor, stiffness, palpitations, high blood pressure and agitation, according to the study.

Five people required hospitalization, and two cases were classified as “life-threatening.” Four of the 11 cases cleared up within an hour of treatment.

“It’s very rare and not likely to happen,” said Soldin of serotonin syndrome. “And, you just need to stop taking the drugs when it does happen. If you’re taking these medications and you have strange muscular, mental or hyperactivity symptoms, contact your doctor.”

Not sure if you’re taking a triptan? The seven available are:

  • Imitrex or Imigran (sumatriptan)
  • Maxalt (rizatriptan)
  • Amerge or Naramig (naratriptan)
  • Zomig (zolmitriptan)
  • Relpax (eletriptan)
  • Axert or Almogran (almotriptan)
  • Frova or Migard (frovatriptan)

Read more about serotonin syndrome in these posts: