Relpax vs Zomig

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For patients suffering from migraines, certain drugs can help in managing and mitigating the pain associated with this debilitating condition. Relpax (eletriptan) and Zomig (zolmitriptan) are two such medicines that are commonly prescribed for migraine relief. These belong to a class of drugs known as triptans, which have an important role in reducing inflammation and constricting blood vessels in the brain that trigger migraine headaches. Relpax works by stimulating serotonin (a natural substance) receptors in the brain which causes the blood vessels in the brain to narrow. Zomig functions similarly but is also available as a nasal spray aside from oral tablets, providing more options for individuals who struggle with severe nausea during migraines. Both these medications can effectively reduce symptoms like sensitivity to light or sound, intense throbbing on one side of your head, and vomiting often accompanying migraines.

What is Relpax?

Eletriptan (the generic name for Relpax) was a significant advancement in the class of drugs known as triptans, developed specifically to treat migraines. Eletriptan received FDA approval in 2002 and is designed to alleviate migraine symptoms by stimulating serotonin receptors in the brain, leading to decreased swelling of blood vessels and reducing pain signals. It is prescribed mainly for acute treatment of migraines with or without aura.

On the other hand, Zolmitriptan (Zomig) also belongs to this class and works similarly but it has an additional form -- a nasal spray -- that can be more suitable for patients suffering from nausea or those who need faster relief. Both medications selectively target serotonin while having minimal effects on other neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine, resulting in fewer side effects compared to older classes of migraine medication.

What conditions is Relpax approved to treat?

Relpax is approved for the treatment of acute migraine attacks:

  • With or without aura in adults
  • For patients where a clear diagnosis of migraine has been established
  • It's not intended to treat other types of headaches and should not be used prophylactically to prevent migraines.

How does Relpax help with these illnesses?

Relpax helps to manage migraines by targeting the serotonin (5-HT) receptors in the brain. It works by stimulating these receptors, causing vasoconstriction or narrowing of blood vessels around the brain. This action reduces inflammation and alleviates pain associated with migraine headaches. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays an essential role not only in mood regulation but also in vascular tone and diameter, which are key factors during a migraine attack. Some individuals experiencing migraines may have alterations in their serotonin pathways; hence, Relpax's mechanism assists by returning those altered pathways closer to their normal state. By acting on serotonin levels, Relpax can limit the debilitating effects of migraines and help patients manage their condition more effectively.

What is Zomig?

Zomig, the brand name for zolmitriptan, is a triptan medication used to treat migraines. It works by constricting blood vessels around the brain and also reducing substances in the body that can trigger headache pain, nausea, sensitivity to light and sound, and other migraine symptoms. Like Relpax (eletriptan), Zomig belongs to a class of drugs known as serotonin-1B and serotonin-1D receptor agonists. However, it does not prevent future migraines or lessen how often you get migraine attacks.

Zomig was first approved by the FDA in 1997. The drug comes in several forms including conventional tablets, orally disintegrating tablets (which do not need water), and nasal spray which provides options for patients who may suffer from severe nausea or vomiting with their migraines. Zomig's side effect profile differs from other classes of medications primarily due to its mechanism of action - common side effects include dizziness, dry mouth or feeling warm/hot.

What conditions is Zomig approved to treat?

Zomig has received FDA approval for the treatment of acute migraines in adults, with or without aura. It's a triptan medication that can significantly reduce headache intensity and additional symptoms associated with migraines including nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light or sound. Zomig is highly effective when used at the onset of migraine pain.

How does Zomig help with these illnesses?

Zomig, like Relpax, is a triptan medication developed to treat migraine headaches. Triptans work by selectively binding to serotonin receptors in the brain, which helps constrict blood vessels and reduce inflammation—two key aspects of migraine attacks. Zomig's active ingredient, zolmitriptan, has been found effective at relieving the full spectrum of migraine symptoms including headache pain and associated symptoms such as nausea and sensitivity to light or sound. In comparison with other triptans such as eletriptan (Relpax), it offers certain advantages: it comes in various forms—including tablets that dissolve quickly in the mouth without needing water—making it more convenient for patients experiencing nausea or vomiting during their migraines. While both drugs are generally well-tolerated, choice between them often depends on individual patient factors and response.

How effective are both Relpax and Zomig?

Both eletriptan (Relpax) and zolmitriptan (Zomig) have established histories of success in treating patients with migraines, and they received FDA approval within a few years of each other. As they belong to the same class of medication called triptans, their mechanisms are similar, targeting serotonin receptors to alleviate migraine symptoms. The efficacy of both drugs in relieving acute migraines was directly studied in various clinical trials; these medications exhibited similar effectiveness in managing headache pain as well as associated symptoms like nausea, photophobia and phonophobia.

A 2002 review demonstrated that eletriptan is effective at alleviating symptoms starting from an hour after administration with optimal efficacy seen at doses between 20 mg/day and 40 mg/day. This drug has been shown to be well-tolerated among different populations including the elderly although caution should be exercised when prescribing it to individuals with cardiovascular conditions due to potential side effects linked to vasoconstriction.

On the other hand, zolmitriptan appears beneficial not just for migraine but also for cluster headaches according to a study published in 2016. While generally considered safe across diverse patient groups its use necessitates careful consideration among people susceptible to coronary artery disease as it may cause chest discomfort or tightness which can mimic angina pectoris. Nonetheless, owing to its unique pharmacology allowing oral, nasal or disintegrating tablet forms of administration, Zomig might be preferable for those who find difficulty swallowing tablets during a migraine attack or suffer from severe nausea making oral medication consumption challenging.

abstract image of a researcher studying a bottle of drug.

At what dose is Relpax typically prescribed?

Oral dosages of Relpax typically start at 20-40 mg, with the most common dose being 40 mg for treating migraines in adults. Most people find this amount to be sufficient. If there is no response after two hours, a second dose may be taken but should not exceed an overall total of 80mg within a single day. Zomig, on the other hand, usually starts at a lower dosage of 2.5-5 mg per day and can be increased if there is no initial response after two hours; however it should also not exceed an overall total of 10mg within any given day. Neither drug is recommended for children or adolescents under the age of 18 without direct supervision by a healthcare provider.

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At what dose is Zomig typically prescribed?

Zomig treatment for migraines typically begins with a dosage of 1.25–2.5 mg as soon as symptoms appear. If the migraine persists, the dose can be repeated after two hours but should not exceed 10 mg in a 24-hour period. The medication comes in different forms such as tablet or nasal spray, which provides flexibility and convenience to users based on their comfort and severity of symptoms. Zomig is an effective triptan medicine that helps narrow blood vessels around the brain to relieve headaches, pain, and other symptoms associated with migraines.

What are the most common side effects for Relpax?

Side effects for both Relpax and Zomig can vary, but some of the more common ones include:

  • Sensations of warmth or cold
  • Paresthesia (abnormal sensation on the skin)
  • Dizziness
  • Somnolence (sleepiness/drowsiness)
  • Nausea
  • Dry mouth
  • Muscle weakness
  • Chest tightness or heavy feeling These side effects are usually mild and go away within a few hours. If any of these symptoms persist or worsen, it's important to contact your healthcare provider immediately.

abstract image of a patient experiencing side effect

Are there any potential serious side effects for Relpax?

While Relpax and Zomig both serve to alleviate migraine symptoms, they may have different potential side effects. For those using Relpax, watch out for:

  • Signs of heart problems such as chest pain or pressure, jaw or neck tightness, shortness of breath or irregular heartbeat
  • Indications of a stroke like sudden severe headache, slurred speech, weakness on one side of the body
  • Signs of allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling in your face or throat
  • High blood pressure symptoms including severe headache, blurred vision, pounding in your neck or ears.
  • Serotonin syndrome symptoms: hallucinations; fast heartbeat; fever; overactive reflexes; nausea; vomiting; diarrhea

If you experience any of these effects while taking Relpax (or even after stopping), it's essential that you seek immediate medical attention.

What are the most common side effects for Zomig?

Zomig, a medication used to treat migraines, can have the following side effects:

  • Dry mouth or unusual taste in the mouth
  • Sensations of tingling or warmth
  • Dizziness or feeling unsteady
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Muscle weakness or cramps
  • Rapid heartbeat, palpitations
  • Neck, throat, or jaw discomfort.

It's important to note that while these are possible side effects, not all individuals will experience them. It's always best to consult with your healthcare provider when starting new medications.

Are there any potential serious side effects for Zomig?

Although Zomig is generally well-tolerated, it can occasionally lead to severe side effects. These include:

  • Signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat
  • Heart attack symptoms: chest pain or pressure, pain spreading to your jaw or shoulder
  • High levels of serotonin in the body - agitation, hallucinations (seeing things that aren't there), fast heartbeat
  • Stroke symptoms like sudden numbness or weakness especially on one side of the body
  • High blood pressure - severe headache, blurred vision Remember that this list does not cover all possible side effects and others may occur. Always report any unusual changes to a healthcare provider immediately upon noticing them as early intervention often leads to better outcomes.

Contraindications for Relpax and Zomig?

Both Relpax and Zomig, like most migraine medications, can increase symptoms of chest tightness or pressure. If you notice these symptoms worsening, or if you experience a severe headache unlike your usual migraines, sudden slurred speech or problems with vision or balance, seek immediate medical attention.

Neither Relpax nor Zomig should be taken if you are taking certain types of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). Always inform your doctor about all the medications you are currently on; SSRIs and SNRIs may interact adversely with triptans such as Relpax and Zomig. Drugs from these classes need to clear from the system before starting medication with triptan drugs to prevent a potentially life-threatening condition called serotonin syndrome.

How much do Relpax and Zomig cost?

For the brand name versions of these drugs:

  • The price for a pack of 6 tablets of Relpax (40 mg) averages around $120, which works out to approximately $20 per tablet.
  • The average cost for 6 Zomig nasal sprays (5 mg each) is about $150, working out to roughly $25 per dose.

This means that if you are needing frequent treatment with either medication, then brand-name Relpax might be less expensive on a per-dose basis. However, it's crucial to understand that cost should not be the main factor in determining which drug is most suitable for your needs.

As far as generic options go:

  • Eletriptan (generic version of Relpax) can range from around $15 to $75 depending on insurance and location for six 40mg tablets; equivalent to about $2.50 - $12.50 per dose.
  • Zolmitriptan (the generic form of Zomig), meanwhile varies between approximately$30 and up for six doses at similar strengths; equating to anywhere from around $5 upwards per use.

Again though remember this will vary based on various factors such as your insurance coverage and pharmacy price differences etc.

Popularity of Relpax and Zomig

Eletriptan, in generic form as well as brand names such as Relpax, was estimated to have been prescribed to about 1.5 million people in the US in 2020. Eletriptan accounted for approximately 8% of triptan prescriptions in the US. However, it appears to be one of the preferred drugs among "atypical" migraine treatments (not classified under NSAIDs or other broad classes of pain relievers). The prevalence of eletriptan has generally increased since its introduction.

Zolmitriptan, including brand versions such as Zomig, was prescribed to roughly 2 million people in the USA during 2020. In the US, zolmitriptan accounts for nearly 13% of triptans prescriptions and a significant portion within overall migraine treatment prescriptions. The use of zolmitriptan has held relatively steady over the last decade.


Both Relpax (eletriptan) and Zomig (zolmitriptan) have a long-standing record of usage in patients with migraines, supported by numerous clinical studies and meta-analyses indicating that they are more effective than placebo treatments. In some cases, these drugs may be combined but this is subject to careful consideration by a physician as they could potentially interact with each other or other medications. Due to their similar mechanisms of action - both acting primarily on serotonin receptors involved in migraine attacks- the choice between them often depends on individual patient factors.

Relpax tends to be preferred when rapid onset of action is required due to its faster absorption rate, whereas Zomig might be chosen for those who prefer an orally disintegrating tablet or nasal spray form. Both drugs are available in generic forms which represents significant cost savings especially for patients who must pay out-of-pocket.

The side effect profile is similar between the two drugs; common ones include dizziness, nausea and weakness. However, neither drug should cause sexual dysfunction or weight gain like some antidepressants can. For both drugs, patients must closely monitor their symptoms after taking the medication and should seek medical help immediately if they notice any signs of heart problems such as chest pain or shortness of breath.