What is Sumatriptan and what is it used for?
Sumatriptan is an antimigraine medication for treating migraine attacks with or without an aura (temporary visual or sensory disturbances). It does not prevent future migraines or reduce how often you get migraine attacks but helps to relieve headaches, pains and other headache symptoms (such as nausea or vomiting).
How does it work?
Sumatriptan is a medication classified as a serotonin (or 5GT) agonist or ‘triptan’ containing the active ingredient ‘sumatriptan succinate’. They are specifically designed to relieve migraine attacks. Migraines are thought to involve changes in the levels of chemicals in the brain causing blood vessels in the brain to widen or swell, which produces the throbbing pain. Sumatriptan works by narrowing the blood vessels to inhibit the pain of the headache and other symptoms associated with migraines.
Can I take Sumatriptan?
Sumatriptan is intended for adults who suffer from headaches where paracetamol, ibuprofen and aspirin were ineffective. It is recommended if you get less than 10 migraine episodes per month.
Who should not use Sumatriptan?
It is not recommended for people who:
- Are under the age of 18 or over 65
- Suffered/suffering from heart stroke, angina, heart attack, high blood pressure
- Have liver kidney problems
- Allergic to any of the active or inactive ingredients
What doses are available?
50mg and 100mg.
How do I take Sumatriptan?
When you order online at Pharmica you can buy up to 24 tablets of either the 50mg or 100mg dose.
- One tablet should be taken with water as soon as the headache begins. It is still effective if you take it at a later stage of the headache.
- It can be taken with or without food.
- If another headache occurs, a second tablet can be taken at least 2 hours after the first.
- No more than 6 tablets (300mg) should be taken within a 24-hour period.
- Do not take more than one tablet for the same migraine attack.
How long does it take to work?
Time to Take Effect - 45 minutes
Duration of Effect - 2 hours
Can I take painkillers with Sumatriptan?
If the first dose of Sumatriptan did not work, you can take a painkiller such as paracetamol, aspirin or a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) like ibuprofen.
Can I take Sumatriptan with alcohol?
It is advised to not drink alcohol because Sumatriptan may cause drowsiness or dizziness which would make the effect worse if mixed with alcohol.
Can I take Sumatriptan if I’m pregnant or breastfeeding?
Sumatriptan can be used in pregnancy if over the counter medication has been ineffective but it is best to consult with your GP before using Sumatriptan. Similarly, it is best to consult with your doctor if you are breastfeeding, as sumatriptan can pass into breast milk.
What is the difference between Sumatriptan and Imigran?
Both Sumatriptan and Imigran contain the active ingredient sumatriptan succinate and are medically equivalent. The difference is that Imigran is the branded version of the medication and costs more than Sumatriptan. A detailed comparison can be found here.
Is Sumatriptan available over the counter?
Currently, it is not possible to buy Sumatriptan over the counter. If ordinary painkillers are ineffective at relieving migraine symptoms, you should make an appointment to see your GP.
Alternatively, you can buy Sumatriptan online from Pharmica. After completing a short medical questionnaire, our experts will review your answers, and if approved our team will dispense and dispatch your medication in discreet packaging to the address of your choice.
What alternatives are available?
Alternatives to Sumatriptan can be found on the Pharmica website.
What is an overuse headache and what should I do?
Medication overuse headaches (MOH), also known as rebound headaches is a type of headache which develops and gets worse with frequent use of headache medication. MOH can occur as a withdrawal action when pain relievers are stopped. They tend to occur every day, or nearly every day.
- Difficulty sleeping
To help prevent medication overuse headaches:
- Take your headache medication as prescribed.
- If you need to use headache medication more than twice a week, contact your doctor.
- Avoid medications containing butalbital or opioid.
- Use over the counter painkillers less than 15 days a month.
- Limit use of triptans or combination to no more than nine days a month.
Other ways to prevent a headache:
- Get enough sleep
- Staying hydrated
- Exercise regularly
- Stop smoking
- Do not skip meals
What are the side effects of Sumatriptan?
Like all medications, Sumatriptan can have some side effects, but not everyone gets them. The main side effects include:
However, many of these may also be caused by the migraine itself.
Always read the patient information leaflet before commencing treatment.