Generic Imitrex (Sumatriptan) – Is it as Effective as Brand Name Imitrex?

Some of you may know that Doc Shazam suffers from an occasional migraine, worse at a certain time of the month, and exacerbated by lack of sleep and irregular work schedules…something not uncommon to ER docs.

I have used Imitrex with great success since my 2nd year of medical school.  Typically a 50 mg tablet relieves my headache with nearly 100% effectiveness within about 45 minutes to an hour with no significant side effects.  The first few times I took it, my muscles felt a little bit “wierd”, but otherwise no real problems.

Yesterday I obtained a refill for my Imitrex and was told that it was available in generic form, with a co-pay that was $15 instead of $35.  I was pretty excited as the outrageous cost of imitrex (over $200 for 9 tablets!) is prohibitive for a lot of people, myself included.

Since then 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.

My conclusion is that they don’t work as well as brand name Imitrex for me.  Does anybody know if I can return the unused pills? I hate to have my insurance charged for medicine that isn’t going to get used.

Guess I’ll have to make some phone calls tomorrow.

  105 comments for “Generic Imitrex (Sumatriptan) – Is it as Effective as Brand Name Imitrex?

  1. RogMo
    July 17, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    Buy your Imitrex (Imigran) from the UK! It’s available there as an OTC. Cost delivered is about $5 US per pill. It is branded SGK. In my wife’s experience it work identical. We found it cheaper through Costco as a generic in 100mg size. We cut in half. Cost is less than $2 per pill after cutting in half. She find the generic version through Costco is effective but works slower.

  2. Elizabeth R
    July 24, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    My local Big Blue Mart recently switched from injectable sumatriptan manufactured in Singapore, for Sandoz (surprisingly affordable under Medicare Part D, and very effective) to that made in Bangalore, India, at Biocon. The bottle does not even contain the 0.5 mL printed on the label (Singapore always filled 0.6 mL), but I found the medicine absolutely useless. Worse than that, after non-stop migraines for more than five days, I ended up with a minor bleed into the vitreous, accompanied by other very large and annoying floaters.

    I’ve used the original injectable Imitrex since immediately after it was released from protocol testing, and have always found it perfectly effective. This junk from Biocon is as effective as injecting saline sub-q, as far as the migraine is concerned, but I now wonder if it has something deleterious in it. At any rate, must start the complaint process through my physician and the pharmacy (which switched to this junk, and charged me three times as much as the generic Singapore-produced sumatriptan!), but am less than optimistic about getting one of the world’s largest corporations to change just because it might benefit a patient’s health.

    As for the person who claimed you were somehow in error in waiting three days to finally take brand-name Imitrex, ANYONE who has used the injectable medication (or the pills) has been warned of the dangers involved in using more than two doses for one headache. In fact, it is often stressed that one should be careful of using more than two doses in one WEEK, especially if one is prone to frequent headaches for many decades, as I have. In addition, I am among many migraine patients who always waits and waits, hoping that the medication will finally kick in or the headache will recede just enough to prevent one from tearing off one’s head!

  3. Jeanne Hornick
    November 5, 2010 at 6:06 pm

    I took imitrex for years. first the injectable, then the 50mg tabs. I graduated to 100mg tabs and could sometimes split them and still obtain relief. I too was thrilled when the generic came out. The Dr Reddy pills worked ok; then my pharmacy switched to Mylan. I don’t think they work at all, and my insurance allows 4 pills every 10 days. On a bad weekend I can use 3 of them, then I’m left with 9 days before I’m allowed a refill. I complained to the pharmacist, who said they were identical (and made me feel like an idiot!). I wish I didn’t need any of them…………………

  4. Pascale Mihailescu
    November 24, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    I had the same bad experience with generic Imitrex a year ago. I went for a refill and the pharmacist gave me the new generic without telling me it was not Imitrex.
    A couple of hours after having taken the pill and feeling that the headache was gone, I started to feel terribly dizzy, light headed and nauseous. In the same time, the headache came back worse than before and I had to be driven home from work by a friend. I then discovered that I had taken Sumatriptan instead of Imitrex. I complained to the pharmacy and they took it right away after hearing my symptoms and gave me Imitrex back.
    Since then, I have to pay $40 a month to treat my migraine but at least Imitrex is working great.

  5. Tim
    December 16, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    I have taken Imitrex since it was first available. I was happy when the generics became available for the lower cost. Now I would gladly pay for real Imitrex. My pharmacy first used Dr Reddy, which didn’t work. Then switched to another brand which had some efficacy. It now has gone back to Dr Reddy. My doctor has done a no substitution script but my insurance, Tricare, refused to pay for it. he called them about this but they still refused.

    Has anyone been able to find a source for real Imitrex overseas or somewhere else?

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