Imitrex is a pink tablet superhero. It kicks butt and asks questions later. If you need a migraine stopped dead in its tracks, Imitrex will rescue you. But for a price.
What price, you ask? Try as much as $10 a pill. That's what I was paying when I bought the tablets eight at a time from Sam's Club. From Canada you may be able to get them for $7 each. When I was lucky enough to get a couple of free samples of the Imitrex injection, they were going for $75 each, self-administered. Try having the coordination to give yourself a shot when you have a migraine. It would be comical if it were happening to someone else. But with the injection, sweet relief comes in a matter of minutes. Are there times when I would pay $75 for that? You bet, if I had it.
I don't have it, so the pills are my knight in shining armor. They work just as well, only slower. It usually takes between 45 minutes and two hours for the little pink pills to kick in. Is that fast enough? Yes. With an end in sight I can take deep breaths and deal for an hour or two. With no end in sight, getting hit by a bus starts to seem like a happy option.
Ten bucks for a single pill is crazy, until you stop and think, "Well, when I have a migraine, if a shifty-eyed guy in a trench coat asked, 'How much will you give me to stop that thing?' I can see offering $1000, my first born, an all expense paid trip to Bermuda. My kingdom is yours, O Drug Dealer, just make it go away." When you look at it that way, $10 isn't much at all.
If you don't have the money and can't beg/borrow/steal/max-out-a-credit-card, there's still hope. The generic form (Sumatripan) is already available in Europe. GlaxoSmithKline extended their patent in the U.S. until 2009, but that's not too long from now. In the meantime, getting the 100mg tablets and cutting them into quarters is a cheaper way to buy them, if 25mg is enough for you like it is for me. You'll notice that the 100mg tablets are not that much more expensive than the 25mg, which is why this works.
There's another thing that makes Imitrex the rockstar that it is. No side effects. At least, I don't have any, unless you count the lovely side effect that I feel good instead of like I'm going to die. I usually have side effects to drugs if I so much as think about taking them, but not Imitrex. If you could wed a pharmaceutical, this is the one I would walk down the aisle.
Just a note, Imitrex is not a pain killer. It doesn't work on anything but migraines. If you're like me and sometimes get tension headaches that turn into migraines, don't think you're getting a head start on it by taking the Imitrex before it changes. You might was well set a ten dollar bill on fire. Imitrex won't do a thing for a tension headache, and it's not a preventative. Wait until you have a migraine to take it.
*Photo by Zach Klein