Sumatriptan

Relieve migraines with Sumatriptan on prescription

This is an informative article about the medicine Sumatriptan, a triptan drug used for migraine relief. In what follows, the reader can expect to find information about the use of Sumatriptan, its ingredients, how it works, what potential side-effects it may cause, which other drugs it may interact with, and important contraindications. Sumatriptan is not indicated as a preventive therapy for people who suffer from chronic migraine, it only works during an acute migraine attack.

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Information

Reviewed by Dr Yasmin Aghajan, MD

Information last reviewed 07/31/19

About

What is Sumatriptan?

Sumatriptan is a drug used to treat the symptoms of migraine headaches, and belongs to a class of drugs called triptans. Usually, migraines involve severe, throbbing headaches, which are sometimes accompanied by sensitivity to light and/or sound, neck stiffness, and nausea (feeling sick). Doctors at Medzino can issue a prescription for Sumatriptan 25mg, 50mg, or 100mg if you suffer from migraine.

How does Sumatriptan work?

Sumatriptan works by narrowing the blood vessels in our head (constriction), which are believed to cause headache whenever they temporarily widen  (dilatation). In other words, constriction helps to stop pain signals to be sent to the brain, hereby blocking the release of substances that cause pain, nausea, and other symptoms.

Ingredients

Active ingredients

The active ingredient in Sumatriptan is sumatriptan at a concentration of 25mg, 50mg, or 100mg.

Inactive ingredients

Sumatriptan also contains the following inactive ingredients: lactose, microcrystalline cellulose, croscarmellose sodium, acesulfame potassium, magnesium stearate and colloidal silicon anhydrous.

Dosage

Sumatriptan dosage

For migraines, the dose is either 50mg or 100mg once, taken at the onset of the migraine. If the initial dose was only partially effective or ineffective, you may repeat the dose (either 50mg or 100mg) after 2 hours. The maximum dose is 100mg per dose, or 200mg per 24 hours. 

How to take Sumatriptan

To be the most effective try to take Sumatriptan at the onset of a migraine. However, you can still take it throughout the migraine. It is not to be used to prevent migraine. Take with water or other fluids. Do not split the tablet or crush it. 

What should I do if I missed a dose of Sumatriptan?

Sumatriptan should not be taken on a scheduled basis; rather, it must only be used on an as needed basis at the start of a migraine. If the migraine started hours ago, you may still take Sumatriptan. 

What should I do if I took too much Sumatriptan?

You should call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 and seek immediate medical attention such as going to the emergency department. An overdose of Sumatriptan could have severe consequences. Do not delay seeking medical care. 

Side Effects

Sumatriptan side effects

Common side effects of Sumatriptan include:

  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Hot flushes
  • Sweating
  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Dry mouth
  • Diarrhea
  • Chest pain
  • Sore throat
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Unusual skin sensations such as tingling, pricking, chilling, burning (paresthesia)
  • Numbness (hypesthesia)
  • Tremor

If any of these side effects persist or cause discomfort, talk to your physician.

You should seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the following rare but serious side effects:

  • Blue fingers/toes/nails
  • Cold hands/feet
  • Fainting
  • Severe stomach/abdominal pain
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Mood/mental changes
  • Heart attack symptoms i.e. pain in the chest, jaw or left arm; shortness of breath, or unusual sweating
  • Irregular of rapid heartbeat
  • Hearing changes
  • Stroke symptoms i.e. weakness on one side of the body, difficulty speaking, sudden changes in vision and confusion
  • Symptoms of serotonin syndrome i.e. fast heartbeat, hallucinations, loss of coordination, severe dizziness, severe nausea/vomiting/diarrhea, twitching muscles, unexplained fever, unusual agitation/restlessness

Drug Interactions

Some drugs interact with Sumatriptan and must therefore not be taken with Sumatriptan. Tell your doctor if you are taking any of the following drugs:

  • Ergotamine, also used to treat migraine, or similar drugs such as Methysergide. Stop taking these medicines at least 24h before taking Sumatriptan.
  • Other triptans such as Naratriptan, Rizatriptan, and Zolmitriptan. These drugas are also used to treat migraine. Do not take different migraine relief drugs at the same time. Stop taking these medicines at least 24h before taking Sumatriptan.
  • MAOIs (Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors) to treat depression. If you have taken these in the last 2 weeks, do not use Sumatriptan
  • SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) and SNRIs (Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors) also to treat depression. Using Sumatriptan with these drugs can cause serotonin syndrome, which can induce symptoms such as restlessness, confusion, sweating, hallucinations, increased reflexes, muscle spasms, shivering, increased heartbeat, and shaking).
  • St John’s Wort, which is a herbal remedy. So not take any herbal remedies containing this plant when you are taking Sumatriptan.

Contraindications

In some cases, it is not recommended to take Sumatriptan. Do not take Sumatriptan in the following cases:

  • If you are allergic to sumatriptan or any of its other ingredients: Lactose monohydrate, microcrystalline cellulose, magnesium stearate, Iron oxide red (E 172), pregelatinised starch (maize). Symptoms of an allergic reaction include swelling of the face/tongue/throat, rash, severe dizziness, and trouble breathing. Seek immediate help if this occurs.
  • If you have a heart problem including ischemic heart disease (angina pectoris, history of myocardial infarction, or documented silent ischemia), signs and symptoms of ischemic heart disease, or Prinzmetal's angina.
  • If you suffer from poor blood circulation in your legs causing cramp-like pains when you walk (peripheral vascular disease)
  • If you have previously suffered from a cerebrovascular accident (a stroke) or transient ischemic attack (a “mini stroke”)
  • If you suffer from high blood pressure
  • If you have a serious liver disease
  • If you are already taking other migraine medicines
  • If you are taking the following anti-depressants: MAOIs (or if you have taken these in the last 2 weeks), SSRIs (including Citalopram, Fluoxetine, Fluvoxamine, Paroxetine, and Sertaline), SNRIs (including Venlafaxine and Duloxetine)

For your own safety, tell your doctor if you present any further risk factors:

  • If you are a heavy smoker, or using nicotine replacement therapy
  • If you are a man aged over 40
  • If you are a woman who has been through menopause
  • If you have previously suffered from seizures
  • If you have some sugar intolerance as Sumatriptan contains lactose
  • If you allergic to antibiotics called sulphonamides
  • If you take Sumatriptan often
  • If you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Q&A

Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. You and your physician will determine if and how you should take any medication prescribed to you following a medical consultation.

  1. WebMD, ‘Sumatriptan Succinate’, [website], https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-7741/sumatriptan-oral/details [last accessed 17 May 2019]
  2. EMC, ‘Sumatriptan 50mg Tablets’, [website], April 2016, https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/product/707/pil [last accessed 17 May 2019]
  3. Mayo Clinic, ‘Sumatriptan (Oral Route)’, [website], 1 April 2019, https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/sumatriptan-oral-route/side-effects/drg-20074356?p=1 [last accessed 17 May 2019]
  4. Patient, ‘Sumatriptan-for migraine and cluster headaches’, [website], 22 August 2017, https://patient.info/medicine/sumatriptan-for-migraine-and-cluster-headaches-imigran [last accessed 17 May 2019]

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