- A Visual Guide to Migraine Headaches Slideshow
- Headache and Migraine Triggers Slideshow
- Take the Migraines Quiz
- What is sumatriptan, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
- What brand names are available for sumatriptan?
- Is sumatriptan available as a generic drug?
- Do I need a prescription for sumatriptan?
- What are the side effects of sumatriptan?
- What is the dosage for sumatriptan?
- Which drugs or supplements interact with sumatriptan?
- Is sumatriptan safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about sumatriptan?
What is sumatriptan, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
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.
What brand names are available for sumatriptan?
Imitrex, Alsuma, Imitrex STATdose System, Sumavel DosePro
Is sumatriptan available as a generic drug?
GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes
Do I need a prescription for sumatriptan?
What are the side effects of sumatriptan?
Side effects are generally transient. Some common side effects of sumatriptan:
- pain or tightness in the chest or throat,
- abdominal discomfort,
- 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:
Quick GuideMigraine or Headache? Migraine Symptoms, Triggers, Treatment
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