PDR Health


What is Maxalt?

Maxalt is a prescription medication used to treat migraines. It belongs to a class of drugs called selective serotonin receptor agonists.

Maxalt works by narrowing blood vessels around the brain and reducing inflammation.

It is available as a generic drug and as the brand-name drugs Maxalt and Maxalt-MLT.


Health Benefits

Maxalt is used to treat migraines.

It can help relieve pain, nausea, and sensitivity to light and sound.

Maxalt may also help prevent migraines from occurring.

Side Effects

Common side effects of Maxalt include:




dry mouth, and

muscle pain.

Maxalt can cause serious side effects, including:


heart attack, and

high blood pressure.

Call your doctor right away if you experience any of these serious side effects.


Maxalt is available in tablet form. It is usually taken as needed for migraines.

The recommended dose for adults is 5 mg or 10 mg. The maximum recommended dose is 30 mg in a 24-hour period.

For children ages 6 to 17, the recommended dose is 5 or 10 mg. The maximum recommended dose is 20 mg in a 24-hour period.

Maxalt should be taken at the first sign of a migraine. If you wait too long, the migraine may get worse and be more difficult to treat.

If you take too much Maxalt, call your doctor or Poison Control Center right away. If Maxalt is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered.


Maxalt can interact with other medications, herbs, or vitamins you might be taking. An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well.

To help avoid interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, herbs, and vitamins you take. To find out how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.


Mixing Maxalt with alcohol can increase your risk of drowsiness and dizziness. If you drink alcohol while taking Maxalt, be sure to do so in moderation.

Pregnancy and Maxalt

Maxalt is a category C pregnancy drug. That means two things:

Research in animals has shown adverse effects to the fetus when the mother takes the drug. There are no adequate studies in humans, however. Animal studies don’t always predict what will happen in humans.

maxalt can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. You shouldn’t breastfeed while taking Maxalt.

If you take Maxalt during pregnancy, call your doctor right away if you have any signs of stroke or heart attack. These include:

sudden numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the body; sudden severe headache, confusion, problems with vision, speech, or balance; chest pain or heavy feeling, pain spreading to the arm or shoulder, nausea, sweating, general ill feeling.

Mechanism of Action

Maxalt works by narrowing blood vessels around the brain and reducing inflammation.

It is thought to work by binding to serotonin receptors in the brain. This helps to decrease the release of substances that can cause migraines.

Maxalt may also help prevent migraines from occurring. It is not clear how it does this.


After taking a Maxalt tablet, it is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream. Peak concentrations of Maxalt are reached within two hours.

Maxalt is metabolized by the liver and excreted in the urine.


The half-life of Maxalt is four to six hours. That means it takes that long for the drug to be reduced by half in the body.

Alternatives to Maxalt

There are many different migraine medications available. Some people may not be able to take Maxalt because of allergies or other medical conditions.

Other options include:

Triptans (such as Imitrex, Zomig, and Frova)

Ergotamines (such as Cafergot)

Dihydroergotamine (D.H.E. 45)

Naratriptan (Amerge)

Sumatriptan (Imitrex)

Rizatriptan (Maxalt)

Zolmitriptan (Zomig)

Eletriptan (Relpax)

Frovatriptan (Frova)

Almotriptan (Axert)