What is Sumapritan?
Sumatriptan is a medicine to treat migraines and cluster headaches. It does not prevent these conditions. It belongs to a group of medicines called triptans, or serotonin (5-HT1) agonists. You take sumatriptan once a migraine or cluster headache has started. It is not a painkiller but you can use this medicine if painkillers or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have not worked.
Sumatriptan comes as tablets, a nasal spray or injection. The nasal spray and injection are used to treat migraines and cluster headaches. The tablets are used for migraines only.
Sumatriptan tablets, nasal spray and injections are available on prescription.
Who can and cannot take sumatriptan?
Most adults with migraines can have sumatriptan tablets or injections. But the nasal spray is only officially approved for people under the age of 65.
Sumatriptan is not officially approved for children. However, a specialist doctor may sometimes prescribe it for a child over the age of 6 years.
Sumatriptan is not suitable for some people. To make sure it’s safe for you, tell your doctor if you:
- have had an allergic reaction to sumatriptan or any other medicine in the past
- have a heart problem such as coronary heart disease, chest pain (angina), heart rhythm problems (arrhythmia) or you’ve had a heart attack
- have circulation problems in your legs (peripheral vascular disease)
- have had a stroke or “mini stroke” (transient ischaemic attack)
- have liver disease or other liver problems
- have seizures or fits
- are trying to get pregnant, are already pregnant or breastfeeding
- are a heavy smoker or use nicotine replacement therapy (particularly if you’ve been through menopause, or if you’re a man over the age of 40)
- have high blood pressure
You may be able to use sumatriptan if you’ve had high blood pressure in the past and it is now well controlled with treatment.
Like all medicines, sumatriptan can cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only minor ones.
Common side effects
These common side effects happen in more than 1 in 100 people. They’re usually mild and short lived. Some of the side effects are similar to the symptoms of migraine or cluster headaches.
Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if these side effects bother you or last more than a few days:
- feeling or being sick (nausea or vomiting)
- feeling dizzy, unsteady on your feet or tired
- feeling hot or cold, face flushes red