Migraine is painful and draining for people, but some will suffer more than others. Other treatments are very effective for people who find no relief from traditional painkillers, such as paracetamol and ibuprofen.
Sumatriptan and Rizatriptan are both migraine-specific treatments and are highly effective at eliminating migraine symptoms. The treatments work most effectively if you take these drugs early. It is best to have the drug in your home, ready for an attack in case you are diagnosed with migraines.
However, it’s crucial to remember that these drugs only ease the symptoms; and do not treat the underlying cause of your migraine. If you are worried about any headaches you are going through, or if they are new for you, accompanying vomiting, changes to your vision or other suspicious symptoms, feel free to ask our pharmacists for helpful advice.
Sumatriptan and Rizatriptan are selective serotonin receptor agonists (also called triptans) to treat migraine headaches.
How Do Triptans Work?
Although the underlying cause is not evident, doctors have observed that migraine pains occur when the blood vessels broaden in the brain.
Sumatriptan and Rizatriptan are both in the Triptan or 5HT1 class of drugs. These are effective for the treatment of acute migraine attacks and cluster headaches. 5HT1 medicines stimulate the serotonin receptors in the brain, causing blood vessels to narrow and pain to subside. Triptans typically work by narrowing the blood vessels around the brain and lowering levels of substances involved in migraine pain. This constricting of blood vessels block the transmission of pain via the sensory nerves supplying the skin and structures of the face.
What is Sumatriptan?
Sumatriptan is a drug that treats cluster headaches and migraines. It does not prevent these headaches. It belongs to a class of medications 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, nasal sprays, or injections. The nasal spray and injection treat migraines and cluster headaches. The pills are effective 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 been diagnosed with migraines.
Side Effects of Sumatriptan
The common side effects of Sumatriptan are:
- Unpleasant taste in your mouth after using nasal spray
- Pain or chest tightness
- Pressure or heavy feeling in any part of your body
- Feeling hot or cold
- Spinning sensation
- Mild headache (not a migraine)
- Numbness/pain/ burning/irritation in your nose or throat after using nasal spray
- Flushing (warmth, redness, or tingling under the skin)
Rizatriptan is a selective 5-hydroxytryptamine1B/1D (5-HT1B/1D) receptor agonist used to treat the pain of migraine headaches. Rizatriptan works by contracting the blood vessels around the brain and decreasing levels of substances involved in the development of migraine pain. Rizatriptan will only relieve a headache that has already started.
Rizatriptan has been available on prescription to migraine sufferers for many years in its branded form, Maxalt. As both a branded and generic drug, Rizatriptan may be prescribed in tablet and dispersible form. The Maxalt Melt wafer is designed to simply dissolve on the tongue. These Rizatriptan melts are particularly suitable for those who struggle to swallow medication in tablet form.
Side effects of Rizatriptan
The most common side effects of Rizatriptan are:
- Mild headache (not a migraine)
- Dry mouth
- Heaviness or pressure in any part of your body
- A feeling of pain or tightness in the jaw, neck, or throat
- Feelings of tingling/numbness/prickling/heat
- Flushing (warmth, redness, or tingling feeling under your skin)
Difference between Sumatriptan and Rizatriptan
Sumatriptan and Rizatriptan are selective 5-HT (1B/1D) receptor agonists for acute (short-term) migraine treatment. The time to maximum plasma concentration for oral formulations is reached earlier with Rizatriptan than with Sumatriptan (1 hour versus 2-2.5 hours). In addition, Rizatriptan has greater bioavailability than Sumatriptan (45% versus 15%). These pharmacological advantages appear to have a rapid onset of action and a better overall response for oral Rizatriptan versus oral Sumatriptan.
Both drugs are effective at relieving the symptoms of migraine. However, Rizatriptan is a faster-acting drug that achieves long-lasting results. People, who have suffered from the debilitating effects of migraines, will know that fast and effective treatment is vital. And so, it is essential to assess how triptan medications work and which of them relieves symptoms quickly.
Pain relief is typically faster with Rizatriptan rather than with Sumatriptan. A 10 mg Rizatriptan dosage may be expected to take effect in as little as 30 minutes. The Sumatriptan dosage is significantly higher at 100 mg, typically taking nearer to an hour to offer effective relief from migraine symptoms. Sumatriptan results in a peak between two and four hours after ingestion.
The most common side-effects of both drugs usually occur in less than 10% of patients. These side effects are dizziness, drowsiness, and asthenia/fatigue. The adverse effects are generally mild or moderate in severity and less prevalent.
The Difference in Chemical Structure
Rizatriptan does not consist of a sulphur group in its basic chemical structure which is present in Sumatriptan. The sulphur group may lead to allergy though no known evidence shows allergy with Sumatriptan. The molecular structure of Rizatriptan has an affinity for lipids or fats. It tends to dissolve in them fast, thus having a higher degree of penetration in the central nervous system.
The Difference in Mechanism of Action
When you take Sumatriptan and Rizatriptan orally, the drugs take some time to get absorbed into the bloodstream and reach the brain to act. The time these drugs take to reach the blood and become available to the tissues is much lesser in Rizatriptan than in Sumatriptan. Rizatriptan works within an hour, compared to Sumatriptan, which takes about 2-2.5 hours. Even the availability of the drug compound when administered is higher in Rizatriptan. So, Rizatriptan has a faster onset of relief than Sumatriptan. The total time from the drug intake to the ease of symptoms is much faster in Rizatriptan. Sumatriptan takes about an hour for the onset of action than Rizatriptan which takes about 30 minutes.
The Difference in Dosage and Formulations
Rizatriptan comes in the form of tablets or orally disintegrating tablets. Sumatriptan comes in the form of pills, injections or nasal sprays.
Doctors have observed that 10 mg of Rizatriptan is much more effective than 50 or 100 mg of Sumatriptan. In addition, the overall response is more consistent with Rizatriptan.
Another important aspect is that Rizatriptan is available as an orally dissolving tablet. Therefore, there is no need to take water; it dissolves quickly as soon as it contacts the tongue. In addition, it is a preferred choice because of its easy intake.
Both of these drugs have similar side effects and tolerance levels. Therefore, it is best to take these drugs with proper medical supervision.
Sumatriptan and Rizatriptan are both migraine-specific treatments and are highly effective at eliminating migraine symptoms. However, it’s crucial to remember that these drugs only ease the symptoms; they do not treat the underlying cause of migraine.
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. Rizatriptan is a selective 5-hydroxytryptamine1B/1D (5-HT1B/1D) receptor agonist used to treat the pain of migraine headaches.