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You are here : 3-RX.com > Drugs & Medications > Detailed Drug Information (USP DI) > Headache Medicines, Ergot Derivative-Containing

Headache Medicines, Ergot Derivative-Containing (Systemic)

Description and Brand Names | Before Using | Proper Use | Precautions | Side Effects | Additional Information

  • Antihypotensive
  • Thrombosis prophylaxis adjunct
  • Vascular headache suppressant

Dihydroergotamine and ergotamine belong to the group of medicines known as ergot alkaloids. They are used to treat severe, throbbing headaches, such as migraine and cluster headaches. Dihydroergotamine and ergotamine are not ordinary pain relievers. They will not relieve any kind of pain other than throbbing headaches. Because these medicines can cause serious side effects, they are usually used for patients whose headaches are not relieved by acetaminophen, aspirin, or other pain relievers.

Dihydroergotamine and ergotamine may cause blood vessels in the body to constrict (become narrower). This effect can lead to serious side effects that are caused by a decrease in the flow of blood (blood circulation) to many parts of the body.

The caffeine present in many ergotamine-containing combinations helps ergotamine work better and faster by causing more of it to be quickly absorbed into the body. The belladonna alkaloids, dimenhydrinate, and diphenhydramine in some combinations help to relieve nausea and vomiting, which often occur together with the headaches. Dimenhydrinate, diphenhydramine, and pentobarbital also help the patient relax and even sleep. This also helps relieve headaches.

Dihydroergotamine is also used for other conditions, as determined by your doctor.

These medicines are available only with your doctor's prescription, in the following dosage forms:

  • Ergotamine
    • Sublingual tablets (U.S.)
  • Ergotamine and Caffeine
    • Tablets (U.S. and Canada)
  • Ergotamine, Caffeine, and Dimenhydrinate
    • Capsules (Canada)
  • Ergotamine, Caffeine, and Diphenhydramine
    • Capsules (Canada)
  • Dihydroergotamine
    • Injection (U.S. and Canada)
  • Ergotamine and Caffeine
    • Suppositories (U.S. and Canada)
  • Ergotamine, Caffeine, Belladonna Alkaloids, and Pentobarbital
    • Suppositories (U.S.)

Brand Names

Some commonly used brand names are:

In the U.S. -

  • Belcomp-PB 5
  • Cafergot 3
  • D.H.E. 45 1
  • Ergocaff-PB 5
  • Ergomar 2
  • Migergot 3
  • Migracet-PB 5
  • Wigraine 3

In Canada -

  • Cafergot 3
  • D.H.E. 1
  • Ergodryl 8
  • Gravergol 7


For quick reference, the following ergot derivative-containing headache medicines are numbered to match the corresponding brand names.

This information applies to the following medicines:
1. Dihydroergotamine (dye-hye-droe-er-GOT-a-meen)
2. Ergotamine (er-GOT-a-meen)†
3. Ergotamine and Caffeine (er-GOT-a-meen and kaf-EEN)‡
4. Ergotamine, Caffeine, and Belladonna Alkaloids (er-GOT-a-meen, kaf-EEN, and bell-a-DON-a AL-ka-loids)*†
5. Ergotamine, Caffeine, Belladonna Alkaloids, and Pentobarbital (er-GOT-a-meen, kaf-EEN, bell-a-DON-a AL-ka-loids, andpen-toe-BAR-bi-tal)†
6. Ergotamine, Caffeine, and Cyclizine (er-GOT-a-meen, kaf-EEN, and SYE-kli-zeen)*†
7. Ergotamine, Caffeine, and Dimenhydrinate (er-GOT-a-meen, kaf-EEN, and dye-men-HYE-dri-nate)*
8. Ergotamine, Caffeine, and Diphenhydramine (er-GOT-a-meen, kaf-EEN, and dye-fen-HYE-dra-mine)*
* Not commercially available in the U.S.
† Not commercially available in Canada
‡ Generic name product may be available in the U.S.


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Headache Medicines, Ergot Derivative-Containing: Before Using

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