Sumatriptan Side Effects, Dosage And Interactions


Sumatriptan Side Effects, Dosage And Reviews

What Are Sumatriptans Used For?

Sumatriptan is an FDA-approved medication for treating migraines with or without aura in adults, and can also relieve cluster headache episodes when given through subcutaneous therapy. Sumatriptan are sold under brand names Imitrex and Treximet. Clinical studies have shown that sumatriptan is an effective and well-tolerated treatment for migraine attacks, whether administered intravenously, subcutaneously, or orally. It can alleviate photophobia, nausea, headache, and functional disability associated with migraine. While not FDA-approved, sumatriptan can also be used to treat migraine in children and adolescents.

How Is Sumatriptan Administered?

Sumatriptan can be administered intravenously, subcutaneously, orally or rectally. It can be administered in the abdomen, thighs or upper arms. In certain cases, patients who don’t require hospital or clinic settings may receive the injection at home.

Recommended Sumatriptan Dosage

The nasal sumatriptan dosage is available in 5 mg per actuation, 10 mg per actuation, and 20 mg per actuation, while the nasal powder system delivers 11 mg per actuation. The nasal powder system has been shown to provide faster relief for migraine-related disability and migraine pain intensity at early time points compared to oral sumatriptan.

Rectal administration of sumatriptan succinate (25 mg) has been found to be an effective treatment for acute migraine attacks, reducing symptoms within two hours.

Oral tablets of sumatriptan succinate are available in doses of 25 mg, 50 mg, or 100 mg, with the higher doses of 50 mg and 100 mg providing better relief for migraines than the 25 mg dose.

Subcutaneous injections of sumatriptan are available in doses of 3 mg / 0.5 ml, 4 mg / 0.5 ml, and 6 mg / 0.5 ml. Subcutaneous injection administration is considered the most effective treatment for the acute phase of migraine, providing relief for pain and associated autonomic symptoms. If a migraine attack returns after initial treatment with a sumatriptan injection, sumatriptan succinate tablets (up to 100 mg/day) may be used 2 hours after the injection.

What Are The Side Effects Of Sumatriptans?

As with all migraine medications, you have to be mindful of the side effects. While sumatriptan is a widely used migraine medication, the side effects may be bothersome to you. Some of the potential side effects of sumatriptan include:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling hot or cold
  • Red face flushes
  • Irritation or burning in the nose or throat and nosebleeds may also occur after using the nasal spray
  • Bad taste in the mouth
  • Bruising or swelling may occur in the injection site for subcutaneous injection

Even though this is a rare occurrence, you may experience more severe sumatriptan side effects, such as:

  • Tightness or tingling in your arms, legs, face or chest
  • “Heavy feeling” in your face, arms, legs or chest
  • Feelings of warmth or cold in your face, arms, legs or chest
  • Anaphylaxis (strong allergic trigger)

According to the NHS, if you ever encounter any of these sumatriptan side effects, contact your doctor right away and check into the ER (emergency room).

Reviews Of Sumatriptans

According to, 71% of reviewers reported a positive experience, while 17% reported a negative experience. Here are some reviews of sumatriptans from that you may find helpful:

“I found Imitrex works well if I take it the second I feel any of the migraine symptoms. If I wait even 20 minutes past that it’ll usually make the headache worse. I suffer migraines with auras and cluster headaches. Like most everyone there is no way to function once a headache starts. Mine starts when the barometric pressure raises or lowers with cold fronts, hurricanes any weather condition that changes the barometric pressure. The pain is rough but the confusion and not able to function for sometimes days on end is the worst. Only advice I could give anyone with this drug is if you know your body well enough to know a migraine or cluster headache is starting take it immediately, don’t wait! That is the only way it works for me. When it does work it is amazing! A wonderful tool to the Arsenal to fight these crippling headaches. Iif someone has never had a migraine they truly will never understand the pain we’re going through.”

Why Is Sumatriptan Restricted?

If an excessive dosage of sumatriptan is administered or if other medications that elevate serotonin levels are concurrently taken, there is a potential for the development of serotonin syndrome. This condition manifests through symptoms such as hallucinations, restlessness, rapid heartbeat, feelings of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and lack of coordination.

How Does Sumatriptan Work: Sumatriptan Interactions

Sumatriptan works by binding to certain serotonin receptors in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that regulates various functions in the body, including blood vessels and pain signals.

During a migraine attack or cluster headache, blood vessels in the brain become dilated (widened) and release inflammatory substances, causing pain and other symptoms. Sumatriptan acts on specific serotonin receptors, known as 5-HT1B and 5-HT1D receptors, which are located on the blood vessels’ surface. By binding to these receptors, sumatriptan constricts the blood vessels, reduces inflammation, and alleviates the associated pain.

Additionally, sumatriptan may affect certain nerve pathways involved in pain transmission, further reducing the intensity of headaches. It is important to note that sumatriptan does not prevent migraines or cluster headaches from occurring, nor does it treat the underlying causes. It is specifically designed to provide relief during an episode of acute headache.

Image of Jenny is contributed by Zineb, one of our amazing #MBvolunteers.

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Jenny from Migraine Buddy

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