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Brand & Generic Names


Basic Information

  • Habit forming? No
  • Prescription needed? Yes
  • Available as generic? No
  • Drug class: Vasoconstrictor, ergot preparation


    Relieves pain of migraines and other headaches caused by dilated blood vessels. Will not prevent headaches.

Dosage & Usage Information

How to take:
Tablet or sublingual tablet--Swallow with liquid, or let dissolve under tongue. If you can't swallow whole, crumble tablet and take with liquid or food.
Suppositories--Remove wrapper and moisten suppository with water. Gently insert larger end into rectum. Push well into rectum with finger.
Aerosol inhaler--Use only as directed on prescription label.
Lie down in quiet, dark room after taking.

When to take:
At first sign of vascular or migraine headache.

If you forget a dose:
Take as soon as you remember. Wait 4 hours for next dose.

What drug does:
Constricts blood vessels in the head.

Time lapse before drug works:
30 to 60 minutes.

Don't take with:
Any other medicine without consulting your doctor or pharmacist.


Tingling, cold extremities and muscle pain. Progresses to nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cold skin, rapid and weak pulse, severe numbness of extremities, confusion, convulsions, coma.


  • Dial 911 (emergency) or O (operator) for an ambulance or medical help. Then give first aid immediately.
  • See EMERGENCY Information.

Possible Adverse Reactions or Side Effects


    In case of overdose, see Overdose section.


  • Dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, increased frequency or severity of headaches.
  • Feet and ankle swelling.


    Itchy or swollen skin; cold, pale hands or feet; pain or weakness in arms, legs, back.


    Anxiety or confusion; red or purple blisters, especially on hands, feet; change in vision; extreme thirst; stomach pain or bloating; unusually fast or slow heartbeat; chest pain; numbness or tingling in face, fingers, toes.

Warnings & Precautions

Don't take if:
You are allergic to any ergot preparation.

Before you start, consult your doctor:

  • If you plan to become pregnant within medication period.
  • If you have an infection.
  • If you have angina, heart problems, high blood pressure, hardening of the arteries or vein problems.
  • If you have kidney or liver disease.
  • If you are allergic to other spray inhalants.

Over age 60:
Adverse reactions and side effects may be more frequent and severe than in younger persons.

Risk to unborn child outweighs drug benefits. Don't use.

Drug filters into milk. May harm child. Avoid.

Infants & children:
Studies inconclusive on harm to children. Consult your doctor.

Prolonged use:
Cold skin, muscle pain, gangrene of hands and feet. This medicine not intended for uninterrupted use.

Skin & sunlight:
No problems expected.

Driving, piloting or hazardous work:
Don't drive or pilot aircraft until you learn how medicine affects you. Don't work around dangerous machinery. Don't climb ladders or work in high places. Danger increases if you drink alcohol or take medicine affecting alertness and reflexes, such as antihistamines, tranquilizers, sedatives, pain medicine, narcotics and mind-altering drugs.

May be unnecessary to finish medicine. Follow doctor's instructions.


  • Impaired blood circulation can lead to gangrene in intestines or extremities. Never exceed recommended dose.
  • May affect results in some medical tests.

Possible Interaction with Other Drugs

------------------------ -----------------------
Amphetamines* Dangerous blood pressure rise.
Beta-adrenergic Narrowed arteries in
blockers* heart if ergotamine is taken in
high doses.
Ephedrine Dangerous blood pressure rise.
Epinephrine Dangerous blood pressure rise.
Ergot preparations, May cause decreased circulation to
other arms, legs, feet and hands. Avoid.
Erythromycin Decreased ergotamine effect.
Nitroglycerin Decreased nitroglycerin effect.
Pseudoephedrine Dangerous blood pressure rise.
Sumatriptan Increased vasoconstriction. Delay
24 hours between drugs.
Sympathomimetics* May cause decreased circulation to
arms, legs, feet and hands. Avoid.
Troleandomycin Increased adverse reactions of

Possible Interaction with Other Substances

--------------- ---------------
Alcohol: Dilates blood vessels. Makes
headache worse.
Caffeine drinks. May help relieve headache.
Cocaine: Decreased ergotamine effect.
Any to which you May make headache
are allergic. worse. Avoid.
Marijuana: Occasional use--Cool extremities.
Regular use--Persistent chill.
Tobacco: Decreased effect of ergotamine.
Makes headache worse.

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