Nurtec vs. Sumatriptan: Choosing the Right Medication

Nurtec vs. Sumatriptan: Choosing the Right Medication


As someone who suffers from migraine attacks, finding the right medication is crucial. Migraines can be debilitating and affect your daily life, so it’s important to have an effective treatment option. In this article, we will compare two commonly prescribed medications for migraines – Nurtec and Sumatriptan – and help you understand how to choose the right one for your needs.

Understanding Nurtec and Sumatriptan

Nurtec and Sumatriptan are both medications used to treat migraine attacks. They belong to a class of drugs called triptans, which work by reducing inflammation and constricting blood vessels in the brain to relieve pain and other symptoms associated with migraines.

While both Nurtec and Sumatriptan are effective in treating migraines, there are some differences between the two. Nurtec is a newer medication that is taken orally, while Sumatriptan is available in various forms such as tablets, nasal sprays, and injections.

Another difference is the duration of action. Nurtec is known for its quick relief and long-lasting effect, with some patients reporting relief within an hour and experiencing relief for up to 48 hours. Sumatriptan, on the other hand, provides relief within 2 hours but may have a shorter duration of effectiveness.

Effectiveness of Nurtec

Personally, I have found Nurtec to be highly effective in treating my migraine attacks. The quick relief it provides allows me to resume my daily activities sooner. Additionally, the duration of its effectiveness ensures that I am able to go about my day without worrying about a recurrence of the migraine.

According to my doctor, Nurtec has shown high efficacy in clinical trials as well. Many of their patients have reported significant relief from migraine attacks and have experienced a reduction in the frequency of their migraines after starting Nurtec.

Effectiveness of Sumatriptan

I have also used Sumatriptan as a treatment option for my migraines. While it does provide relief, I have noticed that it takes a bit longer to start working compared to Nurtec. However, it is still an effective medication.

My doctor has informed me that Sumatriptan is one of the most commonly prescribed medications for migraines. It has been used for many years and has proven to be effective for a significant number of patients. Like Nurtec, it can provide relief from migraine symptoms and improve the quality of life for migraine sufferers.

Side Effects of Nurtec

Personally, I have experienced minimal side effects with Nurtec. However, it’s important to note that side effects can vary from person to person. Some common side effects of Nurtec include nausea, dizziness, fatigue, and dry mouth.

According to my doctor, the side effects of Nurtec are generally mild and well-tolerated. They usually subside on their own and do not require discontinuation of the medication. It is important to discuss any side effects with your doctor to determine if Nurtec is the right medication for you.

Side Effects of Sumatriptan

When using Sumatriptan, I have experienced similar side effects to Nurtec, such as nausea and fatigue. However, I have also noticed occasional chest tightness and a warm sensation in my body.

My doctor has informed me that these side effects are common with triptans like Sumatriptan. Chest tightness can occur due to the constriction of blood vessels, and the warm sensation is a result of the medication’s effect on blood flow. It’s important to discuss these side effects with your doctor to ensure their appropriateness for you.

Choosing the Right Medication

When deciding between Nurtec and Sumatriptan, there are several factors to consider:

  • Frequency of migraine attacks: If you experience frequent migraines, Nurtec’s long-lasting effect may be beneficial. If your migraines are sporadic, Sumatriptan’s faster onset of action may be sufficient.
  • Severity of migraine attacks: If your migraines are severe and debilitating, Nurtec’s strong and long-lasting effect may be more suitable. Sumatriptan can still provide relief for moderate migraines.
  • Tolerance to side effects: Consider your tolerance for potential side effects. If you have experienced side effects with one medication but not the other, this can help inform your decision.
  • Availability and cost: Check the availability and cost of both medications in your area. Insurance coverage and personal budget can also be deciding factors.

Ultimately, the choice between Nurtec and Sumatriptan is highly individual and may require some trial-and-error. It is important to consult with your healthcare professional to discuss your specific needs, medical history, and overall treatment plan.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I switch from one medication to another if I am not satisfied with the results?

Yes, with the guidance of your healthcare professional, you can switch from Nurtec to Sumatriptan or vice versa if one medication is not providing the desired results or causing intolerable side effects.

2. Can I take Nurtec or Sumatriptan for other types of headaches?

Nurtec and Sumatriptan are specifically designed for migraines and may not be as effective for other types of headaches. It is best to consult with your healthcare professional for appropriate treatment options.

3. Are there any long-term effects of using Nurtec or Sumatriptan?

Both medications have been extensively studied and are generally safe for long-term use when prescribed by a healthcare professional. However, it is important to follow your doctor’s instructions and discuss any concerns you may have.

4. Can I take Nurtec or Sumatriptan if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

It is important to consult with your healthcare professional if you are pregnant or breastfeeding before starting any new medication, including Nurtec or Sumatriptan. They can assess the potential risks and benefits for you and your baby.

5. Can I take Nurtec or Sumatriptan with other medications?

It is important to inform your healthcare professional about all medications you are currently taking, including over-the-counter drugs and supplements. They can assess potential interactions and recommend the best course of treatment.

6. Can I take Nurtec or Sumatriptan preventively?

Nurtec and Sumatriptan are designed for acute migraine attacks and are not typically prescribed for preventive use. Your healthcare professional can recommend other medications or strategies for preventing migraines, if needed.

7. How quickly should I expect relief after taking Nurtec or Sumatriptan?

Nurtec and Sumatriptan are both known for their quick onset of action. Nurtec may provide relief within an hour, while Sumatriptan generally starts working within 2 hours. However, individual responses may vary.

8. Can I take Nurtec or Sumatriptan if I have underlying medical conditions?

It is essential to disclose your medical history and any underlying conditions to your healthcare professional before starting Nurtec or Sumatriptan. They can assess the risks and benefits for your specific situation.

9. Can I take Nurtec or Sumatriptan with alcohol?

It is generally recommended to avoid alcohol while taking Nurtec or Sumatriptan, as it can potentially increase the risk of side effects. Consult with your healthcare professional for specific guidance.

10. Can I use Nurtec or Sumatriptan as my only treatment for migraines?

Nurtec and Sumatriptan can be effective treatments for migraines, but they may not work for everyone or in all situations. Your healthcare professional can help determine if additional treatments or lifestyle modifications are needed for optimal migraine management.


Choosing the right medication for your migraine attacks is crucial in managing your condition and improving your quality of life. While Nurtec and Sumatriptan are both effective options, they have differences in effectiveness, side effects, and administration. Consider the factors discussed and consult with your healthcare professional to make an informed decision. Remember, what works for one person may not work for another, so finding the right medication may require some exploration and adjustment.

Jenny from Migraine Buddy

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