Generic Name: sumatriptan (oral/nasal) (soo ma TRIP tan)
Brand Name: Imitrex, Imitrex Nasal, Onzetra Xsail
What is sumatriptan?
Sumatriptan is a headache medicine that narrows blood vessels around the brain. Sumatriptan also reduces substances in the body that can trigger headache pain, nausea, sensitivity to light and sound, and other migraine symptoms.
Sumatriptan is used to treat migraine headaches. Sumatriptan will only treat a headache that has already begun. It will not prevent headaches or reduce the number of attacks.
Sumatriptan should not be used to treat a common tension headache or a headache that causes loss of movement on one side of your body. Use this medicine only if your condition has been confirmed by a doctor as migraine headaches.
Sumatriptan may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
What is the most important information I should know about sumatriptan?
You should not use this medicine if you have uncontrolled high blood pressure, heart problems, certain heart rhythm disorders, a history of heart attack or stroke, or circulation problems that cause a lack of blood supply within the body.
Do not use this medicine if you have used an MAO inhibitor in the past 14 days, such as isocarboxazid, linezolid, methylene blue injection, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, or tranylcypromine.
What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before using sumatriptan?
You should not use sumatriptan if you are allergic to it, or if you have:
coronary artery disease, angina (chest pain), blood circulation problems, lack of blood supply to the heart;
a heart disorder called Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome;
a history of heart disease, heart attack, or stroke, including "mini-stroke";
untreated or uncontrolled high blood pressure;
severe liver disease;
circulation problems affecting your intestines; or
a headache that seems different from your usual migraine headaches.
Do not use sumatriptan if you have used an MAO inhibitor in the past 14 days. A dangerous drug interaction could occur. MAO inhibitors include isocarboxazid, linezolid, methylene blue injection, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, tranylcypromine, and others.
To make sure sumatriptan is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
liver or kidney disease;
epilepsy or other seizure disorder;
high blood pressure, a heart rhythm disorder; or
risk factors for coronary artery disease (such as diabetes, menopause, smoking, being overweight, having high cholesterol, having a family history of coronary artery disease, being older than 40 and a man, or being a woman who has had a hysterectomy).
It is not known whether this medicine will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
Sumatriptan can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Do not breast-feed within 12 hours after using sumatriptan. If you use a breast pump during this time, throw out any milk you collect. Do not feed it to your baby.
Sumatriptan is not approved for use by anyone younger than 18 years old.
How should I use sumatriptan?
Your doctor may want to give your first dose of this medicine in a hospital or clinic setting to quickly treat any serious side effects that occur.
Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not use this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Use sumatriptan as soon as you notice headache symptoms.
Read all patient information, medication guides, and instruction sheets provided to you. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
Take one sumatriptan tablet whole with a full glass of water. Do not split the tablet.
After taking a tablet: If your headache does not completely go away, or goes away and comes back, take a second tablet 2 hours after the first. Do not take more than 200 mg of sumatriptan oral tablets in 24 hours. If your symptoms have not improved, contact your doctor before taking any more tablets.
After using the nasal spray: If your headache does not completely go away, call your doctor before using a second spray of sumatriptan. If your headache goes away and then comes back, you may use a second spray if it has been at least 2 hours since you used the first spray. Do not use more than 40 mg of sumatriptan nasal spray in 24 hours. If your symptoms do not improve, contact your doctor before using any more sprays.
Do not take a sumatriptan nasal capsule by mouth. It is for use only in the disposable nosepiece and special inhaler device that comes with this medicine.
After using one nasal capsule in each nostril: If your headache does not completely go away, or goes away and comes back, you may use a second dose (1 capsule per nostril) if it has been at least two hours since you used the first capsules. Do not use more than two doses (4 nosepieces) in 24 hours. If your symptoms do not improve, contact your doctor before using any more sumatriptan nasal capsules.
Call your doctor if your headache does not go away at all after using the first sumatriptan dose.
Never use more than your recommended dose. Overuse of migraine headache medicine can make headaches worse.
Contact your doctor if you have more than four headaches in one month (30 days). Tell your doctor if this medicine seems to stop working as well in treating your migraine attacks.
Store sumatriptan at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Since sumatriptan is used as needed, it does not have a daily dosing schedule. Call your doctor promptly if your symptoms do not improve after using sumatriptan.
After taking a sumatriptan tablet, you must wait two (2) hours before taking a second tablet. Do not take more than 200 mg of sumatriptan tablets in 24 hours.
After using sumatriptan nasal spray, you must wait two (2) hours before using a second spray. Do not use more than 40 mg of sumatriptan nasal spray in 24 hours.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. Overdose symptoms may include tremors or shaking, skin redness, breathing problems, blue-colored lips or fingernails, vision problems, watery eyes or mouth, weakness, lack of coordination, or seizure (convulsions).
What should I avoid while using sumatriptan?
Do not use sumatriptan within 24 hours before or after using another migraine headache medicine, including:
sumatriptan injection, almotriptan (Axert), eletriptan (Relpax), frovatriptan (Frova), naratriptan (Amerge), rizatriptan (Maxalt, Maxalt-MLT), or zolmitriptan (Zomig); or
ergot medicine--dihydroergotamine, ergotamine, ergonovine, methylergonovine.
Sumatriptan may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert.
Sumatriptan side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Stop using sumatriptan and call your doctor if you have:
sudden and severe stomach pain and bloody diarrhea;
severe headache, pounding in your neck or ears, severe chest pain, shortness of breath, irregular heartbeats;
a seizure (convulsions);
blood circulation problems--cramps in your hips or legs, tight or heavy feeling in your legs, numbness or tingling in your legs, muscle weakness, burning pain in your feet, pale or blue-colored appearance in your toes;
heart attack symptoms--chest pain or pressure, pain spreading to your jaw or shoulder, nausea, sweating;
signs of a stroke--sudden numbness or weakness (especially on one side of the body), sudden severe headache, slurred speech, problems with vision or balance; or
high levels of serotonin in the body--agitation, hallucinations, fever, fast heart rate, overactive reflexes, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of coordination, fainting.
Common side effects may include:
pain or tight feeling in your chest, throat, or jaw;
pressure or heavy feeling in any part of your body;
numbness or tingling, feeling hot or cold;
dizziness, drowsiness, weakness;
unusual or unpleasant taste in your mouth after using the nasal medicine;
burning, numbness, pain or other irritation in your nose or throat after using the nasal medicine; or
runny or stuffy nose after using the nasal medicine.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What other drugs will affect sumatriptan?
Using sumatriptan while you are using certain other medicines can cause high levels of serotonin to build up in your body, a condition called "serotonin syndrome," which can be fatal. Tell your doctor if you also use:
medicine to treat depression;
medicine to treat a psychiatric disorder;
a narcotic (opioid) medication; or
medicine to prevent nausea and vomiting.
This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with sumatriptan, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
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Where can I get more information?
- Your pharmacist can provide more information about sumatriptan.
- Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
- Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 14.02.
Date modified: September 05, 2017
Last reviewed: September 26, 2016