Sumatriptan is used to treat the symptoms of migraine headaches (severe, throbbing headaches that sometimes are accompanied by nausea and sensitivity to sound and light). Sumatriptan is in a class of medications called selective serotonin receptor agonists. It works by narrowing blood vessels in the brain and by stopping pain signals from being sent to the brain. Sumatriptan does not prevent migraine attacks.
Sumatriptan is taken by injection, just under your skin, as soon as your migraine symptoms appear. You should feel relief of your symptoms within 1 hour (maybe within 10 minutes). If your symptoms then return after the first injection, you may take a second injection after 1 hour. But do not use more than two injections in a 24-hour period. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take sumatriptan exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Sumatriptan comes in an autoinjection device so that you can self-inject this medication into your thigh or deltoid area (shoulder joint). Your doctor or pharmacist should show you how to load the injector and administer the medication. Also read the instruction pamphlet and be sure that you understand the correct injection technique before you use the autoinjector.
Try the autoinjector for the first time in your doctor's office so that he/she can be sure that you are using it correctly and can monitor any side effects.
This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Before using sumatriptan,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to sumatriptan or any other drugs.
- do not use sumatriptan if you have taken a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) such as isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam) or tranylcypromine (Parnate) during the past 2 weeks or if you have taken another medication for migraine headaches such as dihydroergotamine (D.H.E. 45, Migranal), methysergide (Sansert), almotriptan (Axert), eletriptan (Relpax), frovatriptan (Frova), naratriptan (Amerge), rizatriptan (Maxalt, Maxalt-MLT), or zolmitriptan (Zomig) during the past 24 hours.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, herbal products and nutritional supplements you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as citalopram (Celexa), escitalopram (Lexapro), fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem, in Symbyax), fluvoxamine, paroxetine (Paxil), and sertraline (Zoloft), and selective serotonin/norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) such as duloxetine (Cymbalta), sibutramine (Meridia), and venlafaxine (Effexor). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
- tell your doctor if you smoke, if you have a strong family history of heart disease, if you are postmenopausal, or if you are a man over 40. Also tell your doctor if you have or have ever had high blood pressure; angina (recurring chest pain); a heart attack; diabetes; high cholesterol; obesity; stroke; transient ischemic attack (mini-stroke); ischemic bowel disease; coronary artery disease; seizures; or blood vessel, kidney, or liver disease.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while using sumatriptan, call your doctor.
Sumatriptan is not for routine use. Use it only to relieve your migraine headache as soon as symptoms of the migraine appear.
Sumatriptan may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- pain or redness at the site of injection
- tingling feeling
- feeling of warmth or heaviness
- upset stomach
- muscle cramps
If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- pain or tightness in chest or throat
- fast heartbeat
- difficulty breathing
- redness, swelling, or itching of the eyelids, face, or lips
- skin rash, lumps, or hives
- changes in vision
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at Web Site] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature, away from light, excess heat, and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of needles, syringes, and the medication.
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
Keep all appointments with your doctor.
Never inject this medication any place except under the skin of your thigh or shoulder.
Call your doctor if you continue to have symptoms.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
AHFS® Consumer Medication Information. © Copyright, The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 7272 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland. All Rights Reserved. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized by ASHP.
Last Reviewed: September 1, 2010.