Migraine is a neurological disorder that involves nerve pathways and chemicals. It is a multiplex neurological disorder that produces symptoms beyond a headache. Migraine may cause intense, throbbing headaches that last anywhere from a few hours to several days.
There is no cure for migraine or headaches. However, people may use medication and adopt lifestyle changes to treat their symptoms and help prevent future migraine episodes. The treatment options include Triptans such as Sumatriptan, which effectively manage migraine episodes.
Let's explore what Sumatriptan is, its side effects, and what aspects you should consider before taking the drug.
What is Sumatriptan?
Sumatriptan is a drug that treats cluster headaches and migraines. It does not prevent these headaches. It belongs to a group of medicines called serotonin (5-HT1) agonists or triptans. You may take Sumatriptan once a migraine or cluster headache begins. Migraines differ from other headaches because they occur with symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or sensitivity to light. In addition, some people who get migraines have warning symptoms, called an aura, before the actual headache begins. Try to take pain-relieving drugs as soon as the pain starts and include agents in the drug classes such as ergots, triptans and NSAIDs.
Sumatriptan is not a painkiller, yet you may take this drug if other painkillers or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have not worked effectively. Sumatriptan is available as tablets, a nasal spray, or an injection. The nasal spray and injection treat migraines and cluster headaches. The tablets are used for migraines only.
Sumatriptan is a headache drug that constricts blood vessels around the brain. It may also reduce substances in the body that can trigger headaches, pain, nausea, sensitivity to light and sound, and other migraine symptoms.
You may get Sumatriptan tablets, nasal spray and injections on prescription. You may also buy packs containing two 50 mg tablets from a pharmacy without any medication prescription if you have previously been diagnosed with migraines.
Side Effects of Sumatriptan
Like every medicine, Sumatriptan has some side effects. However, these are rare and temporary and may last a few days. Talk to your doctor if these adverse effects bother you or persist for more than a week.
Common Side Effects
The common side effects of Sumatriptan are:
- Feeling or being sick (nausea or vomiting)
- Abdominal or stomach pain
- Gastroesophageal reflux
- Feeling dizzy
- Unsteady on your feet or tired
- Chills/ feeling hot or cold
- Flushing sensation/face flushes red
- Tingling sensation
- Blurred vision
- Vision alterations
- Disorder/discomfort of the nasal cavity
- Muscle cramps and stiffness
- Facial pain
With the nasal spray
- Irritation or burning sensation in your nose or throat
- Bad or unusual taste in your mouth
With the injections
- Bruising or swelling at the injection site
- Bleeding from the injection area
Severe side Effects
Consult your GP doctor immediately if you have severe side effects, if your symptoms are life-threatening, or if there is a medical emergency. The possible severe side effects of the drug include:
- Sudden and severe stomach pain
- Bloody diarrhoea
- Burning sensation
- Prickling sensations
- Stinging sensations
- Chest pain/discomfort
- Shortness of breath
- Cold sweats
- Intense pain, pressure, or tightness in the chest, arm, throat, neck, or jaw
- Fast, slow, irregular, pounding or racing heartbeat or pulse
- Ventricular tachycardia
- Ventricular fibrillation
- Neck/jaw/ throat pain
- Neck stiffness
- White, blue, or purple fingers or toes
- Reynaud's disease(reduced blood flow to your fingers or toes)
- Throat irritation
- Change in hearing
- Difficulty concentrating
- Severe headache
- Slurred speech
- Problems with vision and balance
- Tingling or tightness in the chest, face, arms, or legs
- Unusual feelings of heaviness in the chest, face, arms, or legs
- Feelings of warmth or cold in the chest, face, arms, or legs
- Serotonin syndrome
- Seizures/convulsions (if you have a history of seizure problems)
These feelings usually don't last for long. However, if they continue, or become severe or intense, seek medical help immediately.
Sumatriptan may cause allergic reactions if you are allergic to the drug. In addition, inactive ingredients may also cause allergic reactions. Allergic responses include:
- Skin rash
- Severe redness or swollen skin
- Application site discomfort/ irritation/ discolouration
- Burns scars
- Blistered or peeling skin (Stevens-Johnsons syndrome)
- Tightness in the chest or throat
- Trouble breathing or talking
- Swelling of the face, mouth, lips, tongue, and throat
Warnings to Consider
- Be careful while using Sumatriptan without the doctor's consent.
- You must share your medical history with the doctor if you have pre-existing medical conditions like heart, liver, or kidney problems, seizures or fits, uncontrolled high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and blood circulation problems.
- Do not use Sumatriptan if you ever had heart disease, coronary artery disease, angina, a heart attack, Wolf-Parkinson- White syndrome, or stroke.
- Take Sumatriptan as early as a migraine or cluster headache begins.
- Sumatriptan tablets usually work within 30 to 60 minutes. The spray and injection work quicker.
- The nasal spray is only recommended for people less than 65 years.
- Sumatriptan is not officially approved for children. However, a specialist doctor may sometimes prescribe it for a child over the age of 6 years.
- Sumatriptan injection is not approved for anyone younger than 18.
- Do not take more than two injections, two doses of nasal spray, or more than 300 mg of tablets in 24 hours.
- It is best to avoid alcohol during a migraine. Sometimes alcohol may trigger migraine and cluster headaches.
- It's a good idea to quit smoking. People who smoke may have a higher risk of getting headaches.
- Tell a doctor if you're trying to get pregnant or if you are already pregnant.
- Sumatriptan may pass into breast milk. Avoid breastfeeding within 12 hours after using Sumatriptan.
- Sumatriptan may make you dizzy and tired. If you experience dizziness, do not drive or operate machinery.
- When taking Sumatriptan, do not take migraine medicines such as ergotamine or other triptans.
- Taking Sumatriptan with some antidepressants may increase the risk of a severe side effect called serotonin syndrome.
- Sumatriptan is known by the brand names Imigran, Migraitan and Boots Migraine Relief 50mg Tablets.
- Sumatriptan might interact with alfenatil, almotriptan, buspirone, citalopram, clomipramine, doxepin, Eletriptan, fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, imipramine, linezolid, naratriptan, sertraline, trazodone, and zolmitriptan.
Sumatriptan is a drug that treats cluster headaches and migraines. It does not prevent these conditions. It belongs to a group of medicines called triptans or serotonin (5-HT1) agonists.
Sumatriptan is not a painkiller, but you can use this if painkillers or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have not worked.