Caffeine is a stimulant that causes narrowing of blood vessels (vasoconstriction). Ergotamine is in a group of drugs called ergot alkaloids (ER-got AL-ka-loids). It works by narrowing the blood vessels around the brain. Ergotamine also affects blood flow patterns that are associated with certain types of headaches. Caffeine and ergotamine is a combination medicine used to treat or prevent a migraine type headache. This medication will only treat a headache that has already begun. It will not prevent migraine headaches or reduce the number of attacks. Caffeine and ergotamine should not be used to treat common tension headaches or any headache that seems to be different from your usual migraine headaches. Caffeine and ergotamine may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
Originally manufactured by Novartis and approved by the FDA back in 1948, Cafergot is a medication prescribed for the treatment of severe vascular headaches. Vascular headaches are cluster and migraine headaches. The active ingredients in Cafergot are ergotamine tartrate and caffeine. Ergotamine tartrate is an ergot alkaloid and these act as vasoconstrictors. Cafergot acts to constrict the widened blood vessels in the lining of the brain reducing the throbbing and pain associated with the headache. Cafergot should be avoided by those with kidney disease, high blood pressure, heart disease, circulatory issues, blood vessel disorders or liver disease. Cafergot is available as rectal suppositories, tablets, and sublingual forms.