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Sumatriptan is a medication used to treat acute migraines. You should only take this treatment if a diagnosis of migraines has first been made by a medical professional. If you have been diagnosed, you are likely to have experienced repeated episodes of the condition over several years.
Sumatriptan helps to alleviate symptoms associated with acute migraines, such as a painful throbbing headache, nausea and visual disturbances.
The precise cause of migraines is not yet known. Your brain does not possess pain receptors; rather, it processes pain signals from other areas of the body. However, serotonin (a chemical found in the brain) is believed to play an important role.
Medical research suggests that migraine symptoms are caused by blood vessels widening within the head. Sumatriptan helps these blood vessels to return to their normal size, alleviating symptoms. These tablets also prevent pain signals from reaching your brain.
When taking any medication, you should follow the advice of your doctor as well as the guidelines listed in the patient leaflet. Instructions for taking Sumatriptan are as follows:
Painkillers are also safe to use alongside Sumatriptan, provided you have not experienced adverse reactions to these in the past.
Sumatriptan is available in two different dosages; 50mg and 100mg. Your doctor will most likely prescribe the 50mg dosage to start and, depending on how you respond, may increase this to the 100mg dosage. These tablets are generally referred to by the name of their active ingredient. However, some brand medications also contain Sumatriptan in smaller quantities.
All prescription medication poses a risk of side effects. Commonly reported side effects of Sumatriptan include:
You should inform your doctor if you experience any of these for a protracted period. For a detailed list of side effects, please consult the patient leaflet.
Children, adolescents and pregnant/nursing women should not take Sumatriptan.
If you are aged over 65, you should only use this medication when advised to by a medical professional.
Do not use Sumatriptan if you have:
If you are prone to any of the following types of migraine, you should also not use Sumatriptan:
Similarly, avoid these tablets if you have taken other migraine medication or medications containing triptan recently.
You should avoid driving or operating heavy machinery if you experience drowsiness as a result of taking Sumatriptan.
Do not take Sumatriptan if you have also had a monoamine oxidase inhibitor medicine (MAOI) within the past two weeks. These might include:
In rare cases, Sumatriptan can cause serotonin syndrome when taken alongside medications that increase the activity of serotonin. These include SSRIs, SNRIs, lithium, tramadol, dapoxetine and St John's wort.