Pizotifen can prevent migraines and cluster headaches for people who regularly suffer from these extremely painful conditions.   A migraine is a severe, throbbing headache that starts on the side or front of the head and can last for several hours. More information

A doctor will review your order and write you a prescription, if appropriate. This prescription is then forwarded to a pharmacy. The pharmacy will have your medicine delivered to you within one to three working days. Read more about this process here.

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Pizotifen is used to prevent the occurrence of migraines and cluster headaches. These are much stronger than a normal headache and can affect a person’s quality of life. Pizotifen is suitable for adults and children over 7 years of age. 

What is Pizotifen? 

Pizotifen can prevent migraines and cluster headaches for people who regularly suffer from these extremely painful conditions.  

A migraine is a severe, throbbing headache that starts on the side or front of the head and can last for several hours. It is often accompanied by sickness and sensitivity to sound and light. 

A cluster headache is a recurring severe headache that appears as a sudden sharp pain on one side of the head or around the eye area. It can last from 15 minutes to 3 hours, take place several times a day and often occurs for many weeks or months. Cluster headaches are part of the group known as vascular headaches, which occur when the blood vessels in the brain swell or dilate. 

A migraine or cluster headache can affect a person’s quality of life as it is almost impossible to do anything when they occur. 

Pizotifen works by reducing the size of the blood vessels in the brain, as when they expand it is believed this causes a migraine or severe headache. However, the cause of migraines and cluster headaches is not yet completely understood. 

The brand name sometimes used for Pizotifen is Sanomigran, but it is also prescribed under the name Pizotifen, which is the active ingredient. This medication must be prescribed by a doctor and cannot be bought over-the-counter. 

When is Pizotifen used? 

Pizotifen is used when a person suffers from recurrent migraines or cluster headaches. These will be diagnosed by a doctor and the person will get to know the signs of their condition.  

This medication can only be used to prevent migraines and cluster headaches, it will not stop them once they start. 

Migraines cannot be cured but can be prevented and treated. The exact cause of this painful condition is not known but it is believed to be due to short-term changes in the chemicals, blood vessels and nerves of the brain.  

Migraines can occur in adults and children (Pizotifen is only suitable for children aged 7 years and over).  

People who suffer from migraines sometimes learn to avoid the triggers that can cause them, such as: 

Certain foods or drinks, such as cheese, chocolate, processed foods, coffee and alcohol; 

  • Some food additives; 
  • Stress; 
  • Environment, such as loud noise or bright lights; 
  • Strong smells including perfume and cigarette smoke; 
  • Certain medicines; 
  • Not getting enough sleep
  • Changes in the weather due to pressure alterations; 
  • Women starting their period due to a fluctuation in the hormone oestrogen. 

Migraines can last for several hours and often the only way a person can deal with them is to lie down in a dark room and try to rest. The symptoms are: 

  • Pain on one or both sides of the head (often throbbing); 
  • Feeling or being sick; 
  • Being sensitive to light or sound. 

There is also another kind of migraine, known as an aura migraine. There are different symptoms for this including; 

  • Seeing flashing lights and spots in front of the eyes; 
  • Temporary loss of vision; 
  • Pins and needles. 
  • Pizotifen can also be used to prevent this kind of migraine. 

Cluster headaches come in short, sharp strong bursts of pain usually on one side of the head and around the eye. This kind of headache gives little or no warning and starts very quickly. It can last for between 15 minutes to 3 hours and can occur several times a day. 

Some triggers of cluster headaches are: 

  • Drinking alcohol; 
  • Strong smells such as perfume or paint. 

It is believed cluster headaches may be genetic and they tend to occur at the same time of day and even the same time of year. They often occur during the night after a person has gone to sleep. 

Symptoms of cluster headaches include; 

Intense pain on one side of the head, in or around the eye; 

  • Red eye; 
  • Tears; 
  • Runny nose;
  • Swelling in the eye area. 

Because cluster headaches come and go so quickly common painkillers are not suitable to treat them as they are slow to take effect. Pizotifen can work as a preventive remedy for people who regularly suffer from cluster headaches.  

How do you use Pizotifen? 

You use Pizotifen to prevent migraines and cluster headaches. It cannot be used to treat them once they begin. However, you can take ordinary painkillers alongside Pizotifen if a migraine or cluster headache begins while you are taking this medication, but you should do this on the advice of a doctor. 

You take Pizotifen daily according to the dose prescribed by your doctor.  It is recommended to take the daily dose before going to bed, however, you can divide the dose over the day if you prefer. You should take Pizotifen at approximately the same time each day. The tablets should be swallowed with a glass of water. You should not chew these tablets. 

Do not drink alcohol if you are taking Pizotifen as the combination of the two can make you feel dizzy and/or drowsy. If you forget to take a Pizotifen tablet take it as soon as you remember unless it is almost time for the next dose. If you are due to take another dose soon leave out the missed dose and take the next dose as usual at the correct time. Do not take a double dose of Pizotifen to make up for a missed dose as this can be dangerous. 

If you are sick after taking Pizotifen you can take another tablet if less than 30 minutes have passed since you took the first tablet. If more than 30 minutes have passed since you have taken a Pizotifen tablet and then you are sick you should not take another tablet as the first will already have started to be absorbed into your system. If more than 30 minutes have passed you should wait until the correct time to take the next dose.  

You should not stop taking Pizotifen suddenly as withdrawal symptoms can occur such as feeling sick, anxiety, tremors and sleeplessness. Stopping this medication quickly can also cause your migraines to get worse. When it is time to stop taking Pizotifen you should talk to your doctor who will give you a plan of how to stop taking your medication to avoid withdrawal symptoms. 

What dosages are there? 

Pizotifen comes in two strengths: 0.5 mg and 1.5 mg. The usual dosages are below however you should follow the advice of your doctor as they may prescribe you a different dose depending on your individual situation. 

It is possible to be prescribed up to a maximum of 4.5 mg per day and up to 3 mg can be given as a single daily dose for adults.  

Usual dosages: 

  • Adults – 1 x 1.5 mg a day, or 3 equal doses of 0.5 mg. 
  • Children 7 years of age and over – up to a total daily dose of 1.5 mg taken in 3 equal doses of 0.5 mg.  

What are the side effects of Pizotifen? 

As with all medicines, Pizotifen may have some side effects, however, not everyone will experience them. 

The most common side effects are: 

  • Increased appetite; 
  • Weight gain; 
  • Feeling nauseous; 
  • Sleepiness or drowsiness; 
  • Fatigue; 
  • Dizziness; 
  • Dry mouth. 

If you experience any of the above side effects and you feel concerned, it is advisable to discuss this with your doctor. They may adjust your dose of Pizotifen. 

When shouldn’t you use Pizotifen? 

You should not use Pizotifen if you: 

  • Are allergic to any of the ingredients in the package leaflet; 
  • Are under 7 years of age; 
  • Have glaucoma; 
  • Have epilepsy. 

If you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant or breastfeeding you should talk to your doctor before taking Pizotifen, it is not usually prescribed for breast feeding women. 

This medication can make you feel dizzy and drowsy. If it affects you in this way you should not drive or operate machinery. 

If you are lactose-intolerant you should advise your doctor before taking this medication. 

Drinking alcohol is not advised when taking Pizotifen as it can trigger or increase its side effects. 

Does Pizotifen interact with other medication? 

It is possible that Pizotifen may interact with other medicines you are taking, including herbal medicines. 

You may feel drowsy or dizzy or have other side effects if you take Pizotifen in combination with: 

  • Alcohol; 
  • Some anti-depressants; 
  • Some antihistamine medication (including for the common cold and flu); 
  • Medicines to help you sleep; 
  • Strong painkillers such as codeine, morphine or tramadol; 
  • Medicines to lower blood pressure; 
  • Some barbiturates. 

If you are taking any of the above or other medicines your doctor will decide if it is safe for you to take Pizotifen.  

Where can you buy Pizotifen? 

You can get Pizotifen from a pharmacy, but only with a doctor’s prescription. 

Can I get Pizotifen without a prescription?  

No, you must have a prescription from a doctor for Pizotifen. 


Cluster headache. (N.D.) Retrieved 28 November, 2019 from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cluster-headache/symptoms-causes/syc-20352080 

Medicines for Children. Pizotifen to prevent migraine headaches. September, 18, 2014. Retrieved 28 November, 2019 from https://www.medicinesforchildren.org.uk/pizotifen-prevent-migraine-headaches 

Migraine. May 10, 2019. Retrieved 28 November, 2019 from https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/migraine/ 

Package leaflet. Pizotifen 0.5mg and 1.5mg tablets. April, 2014. Retrieved 28 November, 2019 from https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/docomimg2.s3.amazonaws.com/leaflets/en/patient_information_leaflet-4404-pizotifen-uk.pdf-1510756510.pdf 

Stewart, M. Pizotifen tablets. May 28, 2019. Retrieved 28 November, 2019 from https://patient.info/medicine/pizotifen-tablets 

Sanomigran (pizotifen). September 29, 2014. Retrieved 28 November, 2019 from https://www.netdoctor.co.uk/medicines/brain-nervous-system/a7505/sanomigran-pizotifen/ 

Assessed by:

Dr Imran Malik, General practitioner
Registration number: GMC: 4741365

Dr Imran Malik studied undergraduate medicine at King's College University in Central London and clinical studies at the prestigious King's College Hospital. He graduated with a MBBS degree in 2000 and went on to gain postgraduate memberships with the Royal Society of Medicine and also General Practice in 2006.