GENERIC NAME: SUMATRIPTAN SUCCINATE - SUBCUTANEOUS INJECTION (sue-muh-TRIP-tan SUX-in-ate)
BRAND NAME(S): Alsuma, Imitrex, Sumavel DosePro
USES: Sumatriptan is used to treat migraines and cluster headaches. It helps to relieve pain and other symptoms of migraines/headaches including sensitivity to light or sound, nausea, and vomiting. Prompt treatment allows you to get back to your normal routine and may decrease your need for other pain medications. It does not prevent future migraines/headaches or reduce how often you may get a headache.Sumatriptan belongs to a group of drugs called triptans. It affects a certain natural chemical (serotonin) that constricts blood vessels in the brain. It may also block other pain pathways in the brain.
HOW TO USE: Read the Patient Information Leaflet available from your pharmacist before you start using sumatriptan and each time you get a refill. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.This medication can be injected by using a syringe/needle, an auto-injector, or a needle-free device (depending on the brand prescribed). Learn all preparation and usage instructions in the product package. If any of the information is unclear, consult your doctor or pharmacist. Make sure you understand the correct technique for injection and how to properly dispose of needles, syringes, auto-injectors, needle-free devices, and unused medication.Inject the medication just below the skin as soon as the symptoms of your migraine/headache appear. Before injecting each dose with a syringe and needle or an auto-injector, clean the injection site with rubbing alcohol. If using a needle-free device, your skin should be clean and dry before injecting. This medication should never be injected directly into a vein (IV) or into a muscle (IM). Also, never inject this medication through clothing.If there is no improvement in your symptoms, do not take any more doses of this medication before talking to your doctor. If your symptoms are only partly relieved, or if your headache comes back, you may use a second injection after one hour or as directed by your doctor. Do not use more than 2 injections (12 milligrams) in a 24-hour period. Do not reuse the syringe or the needle-free device. If you are using an auto-injector device, it may be re-used.If your symptoms are only partly relieved or your headache returns, 2 hours after the injection you may switch to sumatriptan taken by mouth instead of using a second injection. After the initial injection you may take sumatriptan by mouth every 2 hours if needed to a maximum of 100 milligrams of tablets in a 24-hour period.If you have never taken this medication before and you have risk factors for heart disease (see Precautions), you may need to be monitored for rare but serious side effects (e.g., chest pain) when you take the first dose. Your doctor may ask you to take the first dose in the office.Your dosage is based on your medical condition and response to therapy. Tell your doctor if your condition does not improve or worsens.Overuse of drugs to treat sudden migraine attacks can lead to worsening of headache (medication overuse headache) or rebound headache. Therefore, do not use this medication more often or for longer than prescribed. Tell your doctor if you need to use this medication more often, if the medication is not working as well, or if you have more frequent or worse headaches. Your doctor may need to change your medication and/or add a separate medication to help prevent the headaches.
Quick GuideMigraine or Headache? Migraine Symptoms, Triggers, Treatment
SIDE EFFECTS: Pain, swelling, bleeding, or bruising at the injection site may occur. Flushing, sensations of tingling/numbness/prickling/heat, weakness, drowsiness, or dizziness may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor or pharmacist promptly.Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.Chest/jaw/neck tightness can commonly occur shortly after using sumatriptan. Only rarely are these signs of a serious condition. However, you may not be able to tell it apart from a serious reaction related to a lack of blood flow to the heart, brain or other parts of the body. Seek immediate medical attention if any of these unlikely but very serious (rarely fatal) side effects occur: chest pain, jaw/left arm pain, fainting, fast/irregular/pounding heartbeat, vision changes, weakness on one side of the body, confusion, slurred speech, sudden or severe stomach/abdominal pain, bloody diarrhea, change in the amount of urine.Tell your doctor immediately if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: blue fingers/toes/nails, cold sensation of hands/feet, hearing changes, mental/mood changes, seizures.This medication may increase serotonin and rarely cause a very serious condition called serotonin syndrome/toxicity. The risk increases if you are also taking other drugs that increase serotonin, so tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the drugs you take (see Drug Interactions section). Get medical help right away if you develop some of the following symptoms: fast heartbeat, hallucinations, loss of coordination, severe dizziness, severe nausea/vomiting/diarrhea, twitching muscles, unexplained fever, unusual agitation/restlessness.A serious allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely, but seek immediate medical attention if it occurs. Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction include: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), dizziness, trouble breathing.This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.In the US -Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.In Canada - Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.
PRECAUTIONS: See also How to Use section.Before using sumatriptan, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to other triptan drugs (e.g., zolmitriptan, rizatriptan); or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.This medication should not be taken if you have certain medical conditions. Before using this medicine, consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have: heart disease (e.g., chest pain, heart attack), decreased blood flow in the brain (e.g., stroke, transient ischemic attack), blood circulation disease (e.g., ischemic bowel disease), uncontrolled high blood pressure (hypertension), certain types of headaches (hemiplegic or basilar migraine), liver disease.Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: certain blood circulation disorders (e.g., Raynaud's disease), seizures.Tell your doctor if you have the following risk factors for heart disease: diabetes, family history of heart disease, high blood pressure (controlled), high cholesterol, overweight, smoker, female after menopause, male over age 40.If you are at high risk for heart disease, your doctor may want to check your heart before prescribing sumatriptan.This drug may make you dizzy or drowsy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires alertness until you are sure you can perform such activities safely.The risk of heart disease, liver disease, and high blood pressure increases with age. The manufacturer does not recommend the use of sumatriptan in the elderly since they may be more sensitive to the side effects, including an increase in blood pressure.This medication should be taken only when clearly needed during pregnancy. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.This drug passes into breast milk and may have undesirable effects on a nursing infant. Avoid breastfeeding for at least 12 hours after using sumatriptan. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.
DRUG INTERACTIONS: Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.Taking MAO inhibitors with this medication may cause a serious (possibly fatal) drug interaction. Avoid taking MAO inhibitors (isocarboxazid, linezolid, methylene blue, moclobemide, phenelzine, procarbazine, rasagiline, selegiline, tranylcypromine) during treatment with this medication. Most MAO inhibitors should also not be taken for two weeks before treatment with this medication. Ask your doctor when to start or stop taking this medication.The risk of serotonin syndrome/toxicity increases if you are also taking other drugs that increase serotonin. Examples include street drugs such as MDMA/"ecstasy" St. John's wort, certain antidepressants (including SSRIs such as fluoxetine/paroxetine, SNRIs such as duloxetine/venlafaxine), among others. The risk of serotonin syndrome/toxicity may be more likely when you start or increase the dose of these drugs.If you also take any ergotamine medication (e.g., dihydroergotamine or methysergide) or any other "triptan" drugs (e.g., zolmitriptan, rizatriptan), you will need to separate your sumatriptan dose from your dose of these other medications in order to lessen the chance of serious side effects. Ask your doctor how long you should wait between your doses of these drugs.Also report the use of drugs which might increase seizure risk (decrease seizure threshold) when combined with sumatriptan such as isoniazid (INH), phenothiazines (e.g., thioridazine), theophylline, or tricyclic antidepressants (e.g., amitriptyline) among others. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for details.
OVERDOSE: If overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.
NOTES: Do not share this medication with others. Certain foods/beverages or food additives (e.g., red wine, cheese, chocolate, monosodium glutamate) as well as some lifestyle patterns (e.g., irregular eating/sleeping habits, stress) may bring about a migraine headache. Avoiding these "triggers" may help decrease the frequency of migraine headaches. Consult your doctor for more details.Laboratory and/or medical tests (such as blood pressure) may be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Consult your doctor for more details.
MISSED DOSE: Take this medication only as needed when a migraine occurs, as directed by your doctor. This medication should not be taken on a regular schedule. Never increase your dose of this medication or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
STORAGE: Different brands of this medication have different storage needs. Check the product package for instructions on how to store your brand, or ask your pharmacist. Do not store in the bathroom. Do not discard the auto-injector. You may use it again with refills of the prefilled syringes. However, if you are using a one-time use auto-injector, discard the auto-injector after use. If you are unsure if your auto-injector can be re-used, ask your pharmacist. Keep all medicines away from children and pets.Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.
Information last revised October 2013. Copyright(c) 2013 First Databank, Inc.
Migraines and Headaches Resources
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You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.