sumatriptan, Imitrex, Alsuma, Imitrex STATdose System, Sumavel DosePro

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

GENERIC NAME: sumatriptan

BRAND NAME: Imitrex, Alsuma, Imitrex STATdose System, Sumavel DosePro

DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Sumatriptan is a drug that is used for treating migraine headaches. It belongs to a class of drugs called selective serotonin receptor agonists. Other members of this class include naratriptan (Amerge), zolmitriptan (Zomig), rizatriptan (Maxalt), frovatriptan (Frova), eletriptan (Relpax), and almotriptan (Axert).

Migraine headaches are believed to result from dilatation of blood vessels in the brain. Sumatriptan relieves migraines by stimulating serotonin receptors in the brain which cause the muscles surrounding the blood vessels in the brain to contract and narrow the blood vessels. At the same time, it also reduces transmission of pain signals by nerves to the brain. While it is very effective in relieving migraine headaches, it does not prevent or reduce the number of headaches. The FDA approved sumatriptan in December 1992.

PRESCRIBED FOR: All formulations of sumatriptan are used for acute treatment of migraine headaches with or without an aura in adults. The injectable formulation also is used for treating cluster headaches.

SIDE EFFECTS: Side effects are generally transient. Some common side effects of sumatriptan:

  • pain or tightness in the chest or throat,
  • tingling,
  • flushing,
  • weakness,
  • dizziness,
  • abdominal discomfort,
  • sweating,
  • nasal irritation, and
  • injection site reactions.

Rarely, allergic reactions have been reported, usually in individuals who are highly allergic to multiple allergens. Sumatriptan may elevate blood pressure in individuals with or without a history of high blood pressure. Individuals with uncontrolled high blood pressure should not use sumatriptan.

Other important, but rare, side effects associated with sumatriptan include:

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/5/2015

Quick GuideMigraine or Headache? Migraine Symptoms, Triggers, Treatment

Migraine or Headache? Migraine Symptoms, Triggers, Treatment
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