Sumatriptan

  • Treats migraines
  • Very fast acting
  • Relieves pain
From As low as £15.99
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What is Sumatriptan?

Sumatriptan is an effective and fast-acting medicine used for treating migraines and cluster headaches. It is part of a group of medicines called triptans, or serotonin (5-HT1) agonists.

It is the generic version of the drug Imigran. Triptans are prescribed for migraine sufferers to help cope with the changes in the brain caused by migraines. By contracting blood vessels, triptans are able to stabilise brain chemicals and alleviate the pain brought on by migraines.

Other forms of this medicine include a nasal spray and an injection.

Migraine Treatment with Sumatriptan

Sumatriptan cannot cure cluster headaches or migraines, neither can it prevent the oncoming of these afflictions. However, it is very effective in lessening the pain caused by these conditions, alleviating the symptoms and allowing you to go about your everyday life without interruption from chronic pain. While it is not classed as a painkiller, the medicine can be used as one if non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or painkillers have not effectively lessened your symptoms.

This medicine stabilises several chemical changes within the brain during a migraine attack, reducing your symptoms.

Changes in the brain which cause migraines are thought to involve the widening of blood vessels within the brain. Sumatriptan contains the active ingredient sumatriptan succinate, which causes your brain's blood vessels to contract, thus alleviating the symptoms of a migraine. By stimulating the serotonin receptors in your brain, it causes the surrounding muscles to contract, lessening the pain of a migraine attack.

Sumatriptan: Where to buy

You can purchase this medicine when you have a prescription from your doctor.

Sumatriptan 50mg or 100mg doses are available to be purchased at our online pharmacy. Packets come with either 6 tablets, 12 tablets, 18 tablets or 24 tablets. You can buy it from a pharmacy for migraine relief without a prescription, but only if you have been diagnosed with migraines in the past.

Who can take Sumatriptan tablets?

You should not take Sumatriptan tablets if you suffer from any of the following conditions or allergies:

  • You have high blood pressure
  • You have recently used ergotamine or similar medicines or MAO inhibitors
  • Any heart conditions (such as heart attacks, angina or tachyarrhythmia)
  • You have seizures or fits
  • You are allergic to Sumatriptan, Tripans 5-HT1, antimigraine agents, or any other ingredients
  • A severely reduced liver function or liver disease

Sumatriptan is not believed to be harmful to take during pregnancy, although there is little research to prove this, so you should always talk to a doctor about the possible problems as other medicines may be safer to use.

It is normally safe to take if you are breastfeeding. Speak to a doctor if your baby was premature or has any health problems. You should also talk to your doctor about Sumatriptan if you are trying to get pregnant.

You are not advised to take Sumatriptan tablets if you intend to drive or operate machinery. Migraines often cause drowsiness and dizziness, so you should avoid driving a car or operating any type of machinery until you feel better.

Sumatriptan can also have an adverse effect on anybody who is taking antidepressants; if you are taking antidepressants, you should consult your doctor before you start taking this medication.

You can eat and drink as normal while taking Sumatriptan as alcohol does not affect the medicine. However, during any headache attack it is always best to avoid any alcohol as it can sometimes be the trigger for a migraine or cluster headache.

If you have any doubt at all about any of the above conditions, you should speak to your doctor or pharmacist before taking the medicine.

Possible Side Effects

Like all medicines, Sumatriptan can cause side effects, although most people experience none at all, or only minor ones.

These usually mild and do not last long, but can include: nausea and/or vomiting, dizziness or feeling unsteady on your feet, tiredness, feeling hot or cold, or your face flushing red.  If any of these issues bother you or last for more than a few days, you should consult your doctor or pharmacist.

For the full list of potential adverse effects, please refer to the patient information leaflet inside your medicine's packaging.

In very rare cases, people can have a severe allergic reaction to Sumatriptan. More information can be found about this under the 'Side Effects' tab on this page, but if you experience any of the symptoms listed as a severe allergic reaction, you may require treatment in hospital and should either call 999 or go to A&E, immediately.

 

Sumatriptan Dosage 

Sumatriptan tablets are only used to treat migraines and are available as a prescription-only medicine (POM) as either 50mg or 100mg tablets. Your first dose should be taken only when the pain has actually started, not before, as this can lead to symptoms of “aura”, which are the temporary warning symptoms before a migraine. Do not take Sumatriptan as a preventative measure against the onset of migraines.

Sumatriptan 50mg tablets are the regular starting dose for most people who experience migraine pain; this dosage should be sufficient to relieve most of the symptoms brought on by migraines, without needing to repeat the dose. If you suffer from severe migraines, or 50mg is not effective enough, you may prefer to try Sumatriptan 100mg strength tablets.

You should swallow Sumatriptan tablets whole and take them as soon as possible after your migraine pain has started. This will help to reduce the symptoms in the shortest period of time. The medicine should begin to work between 30 and 60 minutes after being taken, but if required the dose can be repeated after a minimum of 2 hours.

As with any medicine you buy, you should always read the information leaflet thoroughly before taking any dose. Do not take more than the prescribed amount of Sumatriptan within the same 24 hours.

How should I take Sumatriptan?


For adults 18 years and over, the dose of Sumatriptan is one tablet. You should not take more than 300mg (6 x 50mg or 3 x 100mg tablets) in a 24-hour period. For the most effective treatment, Sumatriptan should be taken as soon as possible, after the symptoms of a migraine occur. If the symptoms persist, the above dose can be repeated after two hours.

Are there any alternatives to Sumatriptan?


There are several over the counter medications which can be used to initially try and alleviate the pain and nausea caused by migraines. Some alternatives are: Aspirin, Paracetamol, Ibuprofen, Buccastem M, to help with nausea.

Can I buy Sumatriptan online?


Yes, you can. Providing you are purchasing it from a pharmacy that is regulated and operating legally. Medicine Direct is fully licensed and registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council and all of our doctors are fully licensed with the General Medical Council.

Why choose Sumatriptan?


Sumatriptan is a quick-acting and effective medicine, which has been proven to alleviate the painful and debilitating symptoms brought on by migraines. It has minimal side effects and allows you to carry on with life as normal, without being hindered by the constant pain of a migraine.

How does Sumatriptan work?


Sumatriptan works by stabilising several chemical changes in the brain, which occur during a migraine attack. The active ingredient in Sumatriptan is sumatriptan succinate, which causes your brain's blood vessels to contract. It is thought that one of the main changes in the brain during a migraine is the widening of blood vessels, so by taking this medication, you are helping to reverse that process and alleviate the symptoms brought on by a migraine.

What are the side effects of Sumatriptan?


Common side effects include: nausea and/or vomiting, dizziness or feeling unsteady on your feet, tiredness, feeling hot or cold, or your face flushing red. If any of these side effects bother you or last more than a few days, you should consult your doctor. In rare cases, it is possible to have a severe allergic reaction. If you experience of the below, you should call 999 or go to A&E immediately: Tightness in the chest or throat, Wheezing, Skin rash, itchy, red, swollen, peeling or blistered skin, Trouble breathing or speaking, Swelling in the mouth, face, lips, tongue or throat.

Is it safe to take Sumatriptan while pregnant or breastfeeding?


While there is not enough research to say for certain, Sumatriptan is not believed to be harmful during pregnancy. You should consult your doctor about potential benefits and dangers of taking the medicine before you take it. It is usually safe to take Sumatriptan while breastfeeding, as only small amounts of the medicine go into the breast milk. You are advised to speak to your doctor if your baby was premature or has any health problems. Similarly, if you are trying to get pregnant, you should talk to your doctor before taking Sumatriptan.

Is it safe to take Sumatriptan while using other medicines?


Some medicines may interfere with Sumatriptan. Before you take Sumatriptan, speak to your doctor if you are already taking any of the following: Antidepressants called MAOIs (monoamine oxidase inhibitors), Antidepressants, Other migraine or headache medicines (including other triptans and ergotamine). You should be extra cautious when taking antidepressants, as using Sumatriptan with certain antidepressants can increase your risk of a severe side effect known as serotonin syndrome.

Is it safe to drive or operate machinery after taking Sumatriptan?


Many people experience dizziness when taking Sumatriptan, which is also common when you have a migraine. If you feel dizzy or tired, you should not drive a car, operate machinery or ride a bike until you feel better.

Sumatriptan Side Effects

With all medicines, Sumatriptan has side effects. Most of these side effects are very mild and most people do not experience many or any of them.

Common side effects of Sumatriptan do not generally last long and include:

  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Dizziness or feeling unsteady on your feet
  • Tiredness
  • Feeling hot or cold
  • Face flushing red

In very rare cases, some people experience serious side effects. You should stop taking Sumatriptan and contact your doctor straight away if you experience any of the following:

  • Feelings of warmth or cold in your face, arms, legs or chest
  • Unusual feelings of heaviness in your face, arms, legs or chest
  • Tightness or tingling in your face, arms, legs or chest

It is possible, in rare cases, to have a serious allergic reaction to taking Sumatriptan. If you experience of the below, you should call 999 or go to A&E immediately:

  • Tightness in the chest or throat
  • Wheezing
  • Skin rash, itchy, red, swollen, peeling or blistered skin
  • Trouble breathing or speaking
  • Swelling in the mouth, face, lips, tongue or throat

If any of these symptoms occur, you could be having a serious allergic reaction and may require urgent treatment in hospital.

For the full list of side effects, you should read the information leaflet inside your medicine's packet.

 

Sumatriptan Warnings and drug interactions

Sumatriptan is generally considered to be a safe form of medication; it has been used for many years and has proven an effective way of tackling the symptoms of migraines.

It should be noted that Sumatriptan (Imigran) can cause your blood vessels to narrow, temporarily. For this reason, people who have had problems with poor circulation, a history of angina, heart attacks, strokes or mini-strokes should not take Sumatriptan. In rare situations, Sumatriptan can trigger serious heart problems even in people who have never had circulation problems.

You should check with your GP before taking Sumatriptan if you are a heavy smoker, a woman who has had the menopause or a man over the age of 40.

Migraines are, in some rare cases, associated with loss of vision, loss of speech and paralysis.

You should always see a GP for a diagnosis before you self-medicate for a headache. You should not take Sumatriptan in any of the below instances:

  • When headaches are different from previous ones or they show new symptoms
  • When headaches are more frequent and last longer
  • When headaches start for the first time over the age of 40

Do not take Sumatriptan tablets if:

  • You have high blood pressure
  • You have severely reduced liver function
  • You are allergic to Sumatriptan or any of the ingredients
  • You use, or have recently used ergotamine or similar medicines (e.g. methsergide maleate) or MAO inhibitors (like moclobemide or selegiline)

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

While there is not enough research to say for certain, Sumatriptan is not believed to be harmful during pregnancy. You should consult your doctor about potential benefits and dangers of taking the medicine before you take it.

It is usually safe to take Sumatriptan while breastfeeding, as only small amounts of the medicine go into the breast milk. You are advised to speak to your doctor if your baby was premature or has any health problems. Similarly, if you are trying to get pregnant, you should talk to your doctor before taking Sumatriptan

 

Sumatriptan Ingredients

Sumatriptan's active ingredient is sumatriptan succinate.

Each tablet also contains: lactose monohydrate, hypromellose, microcrystalline cellulose, crosscarmellose sodium, magnesium stearate, hypromellose, titanium dioxide (E171), triacetin, red iron oxide (E172).

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This content has been written by James Nuttall and has been medically reviewed by our Superintendent Pharmacist Hussain Abdeh.

Hussain Abdeh - Doctor's Profile

Hussain Abdeh
MPharm: 2211840

Pharmacist Independent Prescriber

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