Sounds like 'piz-oh-tif-en'

Key points about pizotifen

  • Pizotifen is used to prevent migraines and cluster headaches.
  • Pizotifen is also called Sandomigran ®.
  • Find out how to take it safely and possible side effects.
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Pizotifen is used to prevent migraines and won't help during a migraine attack. It prevents migraines and cluster headaches by stopping the blood vessels in your brain from changing size which contributes to the pain experienced during a migraine.

In Aotearoa New Zealand, pizotifen is available as tablets (500 microgram).

  • Your doctor will usually start you on 1 tablet at night, increasing the dose over a few nights to 3 tablets at night or divided throughout the day. Some people may need higher doses.
  • Increasing the dose slowly allows your body to get used to the medicine and reduces the chances of side effects.
  • Always take your pizotifen exactly as your doctor has told you.
  • The pharmacy label on your medicine will tell you how much to take, how often to take it, and any special instructions.

  • Timing: Depending on your dose, the tablets can be taken all at once at night or they can be taken in 3 divided doses throughout the day (eg, 1 tablet in the morning and 2 tablets at night). Take the tablets at the same times each day.
  • You can take pizotifen with or without food.
  • Missed dose: If you forget to take your dose, take it as soon as you remember. But if it's nearly time for your next dose, just take the next dose at the right time. Don't take double the dose.

Here are some things to know when you're taking pizotifen. Other things may be important as well, so ask your healthcare provider what you need to know.

  • Pizotifen may make you sleepy. Be careful when driving or using tools until you know how this medicine affects you.
  • Limit alcohol while you are taking pizotifen. It may increase the side effect of drowsiness.
  • Don’t use pizotifen when you have a migraine or cluster headache. Ask your doctor what you should do if your symptoms start.
  • Other medicines: pizotifen may interact with other medicines, especially those that cause drowsiness, herbal supplements and rongoā Māori, so check with your doctor or pharmacist before starting pizotifen and before starting any new products.
  • Keep taking your pizotifen every day to prevent migraines.
  • Tell your doctor if you become pregnant or want to start breastfeeding.
  • Don't stop taking pizotifen suddenly; talk to your doctor before stopping. They may want to reduce your dose gradually.

Like all medicines, pizotifen can cause side effects, although not everyone gets them. Often side effects improve as your body gets used to the new medicine. 

For more information on side effects, see the Medsafe information for consumers in the ‘more information’ section below.

Side effects

What should I do?

  • Drowsiness, dizziness
  • This is quite common.
  • Be careful when driving or using tools until you know how this medicine affects you.
  • Don't drink alcohol.
  • Dry mouth, nausea (feeling sick)
  • Increased appetite, weight gain
  • Constipation
  • These are quite common.
  • Tell your doctor if these bother you.
  • Drink plenty of water; eat plenty of fruit, vegetables and fibre. Let your healthcare provider know.
  • Seizures
  • This is very rare.
  • Tell your doctor immediately or ring Healthline 0800 611 116.
  • Signs of an allergic reaction such as skin rash, itches, swelling of the face, lips, mouth and tongue or problems breathing
  • Tell your doctor immediately or ring Healthline 0800 611 116.

Did you know that you can report a medicine side effect to a medicine to CARM (Centre for Adverse Reactions Monitoring)? Report a side effect to a product.(external link)

Pizotifen(external link) New Zealand Formulary Patient Information
Pizotifen(external link) Medsafe Consumer Information Sheet, NZ


  1. Pizotifen(external link) New Zealand Formulary

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Credits: Healthify He Puna Waiora editorial team. Healthify is brought to you by Health Navigator Charitable Trust.

Reviewed by: Angela Lambie, Pharmacist, Auckland.

Last reviewed: