What is Sumatriptan?
Sumatriptan is a pain relief/anti migraine medication used to relieve migraine headaches. It narrows blood vessels around the brain. Sumatriptan also lowers substances in the body that causes migraine symptoms such as headache, nausea, sensitivity to light and sound, and other symptoms of migraine. This medication will only treat a migraine attack; it will not stop or reduce migraine attacks from occurring.
Sumatriptan is sold under various trade names, some of which are Imitrex, Suminat (made by Sun Pharma) and Imigran (made by GSK). This medication is available as tablets, nasal spray as well as injections. Sumatriptan may also be given for conditions other than migraine headaches.
Important Information and Precautions about Sumatriptan
Sumatriptan pain relief/anti migraine medicine (Imitrex, Suminat, Imigran) is not to be used for a common tension headache. It must be taken only after a doctor has confirmed that your headache is indeed a migraine headache. This medication will only treat a migraine attack; it will not stop or reduce migraine attacks from occurring. Sumatriptan is not recommended for someone below 18 years or above 65 years of age.
Sumatriptan anti migraine medication is not recommended for you if you are allergic to it, if you have a history of heart disease (coronary heart disease or angina), a history of heart attack or stroke, blood circulation problems, lack of blood supply to the heart, uncontrolled high blood pressure, severe liver disease, ischemic bowel disease, or if your headache feels unusual (different from a usual migraine headache).
Do not take Sumatriptan within a 24 hour interval before or after using another anti migraine medication like Sumatriptan injection, rizatriptan, eletriptan, zolmitriptan, or others; or ergot medications like ergotamine, dihydroergotamine, or methylergonovine. Do not take Sumatriptan if you have used any of these MAO inhibitor medications in the last 14 days: isocarboxazid, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, tranylcypromine, or furazolidone.
Also inform your doctor if you are taking an antidepressant such as citalopram, desvenlafaxine, duloxetine, escitalopram,fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, paroxetine, sertraline, or venlafaxine.
Remember to allow a gap of at least 2 hours between two tablets or nasal sprays of Sumatriptan. A maximum dosage limit of 200mg for tablet form and 40 mg for nasal spray of this medication per 24 hours has been set.
Sumatriptan is an FDA pregnancy category C drug which means that its effect on an unborn baby is not known when taken during pregnancy. This medication can pass into breast milk and harm a nursing baby. Let your doctor know if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant in the near future or are nursing a child. You must take this medication only if he or she decides whether it is safe for you and your baby. If you do take it while breast feeding, ensure a gap of 12 hours between the medicine and breast feeding.
Before taking Sumatriptan
Remember to discuss all the points mentioned above with your doctor and take all the necessary precautions that are also mentioned above before taking Sumatriptan pain relief/anti migraine medication(Imitrex, Suminat, Imigran).
Before using Sumatriptan, notify your doctor if you have any of the following conditions: liver or kidney disease, seizures, high blood pressure, ischemic bowel disease, a heart rhythm condition, coronary artery disease (or risk factors such as diabetes, menopause, smoking, overweight or obesity, high triglyceride levels, having a family history of coronary artery disease, above 40 years of age, or a woman who has had a hysterectomy). Some of these conditions may not warrant the use of this medication. Your doctor will also weigh these conditions with safe usage of this medication and decide if it is safe for you or not.
How should I take Sumatriptan?
Take Sumatriptan anti migraine medication (Imitrex, Suminat, Imigran) strictly according to your doctor’s direction or according to the instructions on the medication label. Do not alter the dosage unless your doctor advises you to do so. Also, do not take this medication after the prescribed period is over. All medications come with a patient leaflet. Refer the instructions in them for detailed information on that particular medication. Overuse of anti migraine medication will make your migraines worse.
Take Sumatriptan immediately or as soon as possible after your notice headache symptoms, or after a migraine attack has already started. You may be given this medication under medical supervision initially to check if it causes any severe side effects.
Take one whole Sumatriptan tablet with a glass of water. Do not crush or break the tablet. In case of Sumatriptan nasal spray, read the instructions that are included in the patient leaflet for safe and effective use. If you have any doubts, do not hesitate to ask your doctor or pharmacist. Before using the spray, clear your nose and resist any blowing or sneezing just after using the spray. If your headache doesn’t subside completely even after taking this medication or relapses after going away, take another dose after 2 hours. Do not exceed the limit of 200mg of Sumatriptan oral tablets and 40mg in case of the spray in 24 hours. If your condition doesn’t improve further, seek immediate medical attention. You must also tell your doctor if you have more than four migraine attacks within 30 days.
In case of the Sumatriptan injection, it is very easy to use the auto injection device which lets you self inject the medication into your thigh or deltoid area (shoulder joint). Ask your doctor or pharmacist about how to use the auto injection device.
What if I forgot to take a dose of Sumatriptan?
As Sumatriptan is taken on a need to need basis, you are not likely to miss a dose.
What to do in case of an Overdose?
In case of an overdose of Sumatriptan, get emergency medical attention or call the Doctor immdiately. Overdose may lead to symptoms like tremors or shaking, redness on skin, breathing problems, blue colored lips or fingernails, watery eyes or mouth, weakness, lack of coordination, or seizures.
What should I avoid while taking Sumatriptan?
Do not take Sumatriptan within a 24 hour interval before or after using another anti migraine medication like Sumatriptan injection, rizatriptan, eletriptan, zolmitriptan, or others; or ergot medications like ergotamine, dihydroergotamine, or methylergonovine. Do not take Sumatriptan if you have used any of the following MAO inhibitor medications in the last 14 days: isocarboxazid, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, tranylcypromine, or furazolidone.
Sumatriptan may make you dizzy thereby impacting your thinking capability and reflexes. Do not indulge in activities like driving, using heavy machinery or any other activity that requires great attention and mental alertness unless you are absolutely sure that you can do it safely.
Side Effects of Sumatriptan
A serious side effect due to Sumatriptan (Imitrex, Suminat, Imigran) usage is rare. However, few people may experience some serious side effects like blue colored nails, coldness in hand or feet, hearing changes, seizures, or mood changes. This medication may increase the level of serotonin in the body and rarely cause a serious condition called serotonin syndrome or toxicity. The risk of this happening increases if you take other drugs that increase serotonin. Call your doctor right away if you get any serious side effect due to this medication.
Some of the common side effects of Sumatriptan are flushing, tingling sensation, numbness, prickling, warm feeling, chest/jaw/neck tightness, weakness, drowsiness, or giddiness. If any of these conditions persist or deteriorate, get immediate medical attention.
The side effects that are listed above are not a complete set of side effects due to Sumatriptan. You may experience some other side effects.
Sumatriptan Dosing Information
Sumatriptan dosage may depend on a range of factors like age, sex, drug allergies, or seriousness of the condition among several other factors. Your dosage will be determined by your doctor after examining you properly. Remember to follow your doctor’s advice properly for best outcome.
Interaction with other Drugs
Some anti depressant drugs can interact with Sumatriptan. Inform your doctor if you are already taking an antidepressant such as citalopram, desvenlafaxine, duloxetine, escitalopram,fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, paroxetine, sertraline, or venlafaxine. Also let your doctor know about all other medications and related products that you may be using. Never start a new medication without thorough medical screening and advice.
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