Sumatriptan (tablets)

Sounds like 'su-ma-trip-tan'

Easy-to-read medicine information about sumatriptan – what it is, how to take sumatriptan safely and possible side effects.

Type of medicine

Also called

  • Migraine treatment
  • Belongs to a group of medicines known as triptans 
  • Imigran®
  • Arrow-Sumatriptan®
  • Sumagran Active®

What is sumatriptan?

  • Sumatriptan is used to ease the symptoms of migraine or cluster headaches.
  • It works by releasing a natural chemical in the brain called serotonin, and this lowers the inflammation that causes headache.
  • Sumatriptan only works when a migraine attack has started. It will not stop you from getting an attack.
  • Read more about migraine headaches. 

Dose

  • Take 1 or 2 tablets (50 or 100 milligrams) at the start of the migraine attack.
  • If your migraine improves at first, but then comes back after 2 hours or longer, you can take another 1 or 2 tablets (50 or 100 milligrams).
    Do not take more than 300 mg in 24 hours (6 of the 50 mg tablets or 3 of the 100 mg tablets).
  • If the first sumatriptan dose does not relieve or help your migraine, do not take another sumatriptan dose for this same attack. It is unlikely to work.

How to take sumatriptan

  • It is best to take sumatriptan tablets when your migraine headache begins or when other symptoms of migraine begin such as nausea (feeling sick), vomiting or your eyes become sensitive to light.
  • If you take your tablet later during the migraine attack, it will still work for you.
  • Sumatriptan tablets usually start to work within 30 minutes after taking the tablet.
  • Do not crush or chew sumatriptan tablets - it has a bitter taste.
  • Swallow the tablet whole with a glass of water.

Possible side effects

Like all medicines, sumatriptan can cause unwanted side effects, although not everyone gets them. Often unwanted side effects improve as your body gets used to the new medicine.

Side effectsWhat should I do?
  • Feeling sleepy,
  • Dizziness
  • Tiredness
  • Be careful when driving or using tools until you know how this medicine affects you
  • Feeling sick or vomiting
  • This may be due to the migraine attack
  • Avoid eating, until this feeling passes
  • Tell your doctor if this is troublesome
  • Pain, or tightness in your chest, jaw or throat
  • This is quite common when you first start taking sumatriptan. It will usually pass after a while
  • If the pain is intense or does not go away tell your doctor immediately or ring HealthLine 0800 611 116
  • Signs of serotonin syndrome such as feeling agitated and restless, heavy sweating, shivering, fast heart rate or irregular heart beat, headache, diarrhoea and rigid or twitching muscles
  • You are at increased risk of serotonin syndrome if you recently started taking sumatriptan or recently increased the dose
  • Tell your doctor immediately or ring HealthLine 0800 611 116

Interactions

Sumatriptan may interact with a few medications and herbal supplements, so check with your doctor or pharmacist. It may also interact some cold and flu preparations containing dextromethorphan such as Benadryl®.

Learn more

The following links provide further information on sumatriptan.

Medsafe Consumer Information Sheet:

Arrow -sumatriptan tablet
Imigran tablet
MyGran tablet
Sumagran tablet

Credits: Sandra Ponen, Pharmacist. Last reviewed: 04 Mar 2015