Sumatriptan: what it is and what it is used for


This medication is often recommended to treat migraine attacks that cause possible throbbing headaches, as well as nausea and other symptoms.

Sumatriptan is a medication that is part of the group of drugs known as antagonists and is prescribed to try to relieve symptoms caused by migraine, such as throbbing discomfort that may be accompanied by nausea or increased sensitivity to sound or light. Sumatriptan is a selective serotonin receptor antagonist, specifically the 5HT1 receptor, which is involved in cranial vascular contraction. Migraine is the product of the expansion of blood vessels in the head, so the effect of sumatriptan is to contract them to relieve headaches and block the secretion of a series of natural substances that are what cause this pain and the rest of the symptoms that accompany a migraine.Sumatriptan is a medication that is part of the group of drugs known as antagonists.

How Sumatriptan is Taken

When starting treatment with sumatriptan or any other drug, you should carefully follow the instructions of the doctor or specialist who prescribed it. The consumption instructions are:

  • Take it promptly at the time migraine symptoms begin to manifest. However, it should never be taken before an attack, since sumatriptan has no preventive effect.
  • The recommended dose for an adult is 50 mg to 100 mg, but never doubling the intake for the same attack.
  • It may happen that sumatriptan works by making migraine symptoms go away, but they return after a while. Then the indicated dose of the drug can be consumed again as long as at least 2 hours have passed since the intake of the first tablet. The maximum number of tablets that can be consumed within 24 hours must be indicated by the doctor.
  • The administration of the drug is oral and in the form of oval and biconvex tablets. These should be taken whole, without chewing and with a little water. For people with swallowing difficulties, the tablets can be dissolved in a little water.
  • A missed dose should not be made up.
  • The recommended treatment usually lasts 10 days. This should not be interrupted if it is not by order of the doctor and it should not be extended longer than indicated. This could make the headaches worse or occur more frequently.

Precautions when starting a treatment with sumatriptan

Before starting to treat migraine attacks with this medicine, you should consult your doctor, who will take into account possible circumstances such as:

  • Allergy to sumatriptan or to the other components of the medication (lactose monohydrate, microcrystalline cellulose, croscarmellose sodium, magnesium stearate and iron oxide).
  • Suffer from heart disease, show symptoms of heart disease or if you have previously suffered a myocardial infarction.
  • Consumption of other medications to treat depression that are part of the group known as monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors. Treatments with drugs containing ergotamine or its derivatives, as well as triptan or 5-HT1 agonist, will also be taken into account.
  • Liver problems or symptoms of high blood pressure.
  • Blood circulation problems in the legs caused by peripheral vascular disease.
  • History of stroke or transient ischemic attack.

Sumatriptan Side Effects

This medicine, like any other, can produce adverse reactions with its consumption that vary depending on the person. Side effects of sumatriptan, which can be mild or severe, include:

  • Tingling sensation in the arms or legs or muscle cramps
  • muscle tension
  • Drowsiness, tiredness and weakness
  • Increased blood pressure and possible reddening of the skin
  • Stomach problems in the form of dizziness, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Sensation of cold or heat in any part of the body that may be accompanied by cold sweats
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Allergic reactions in the form of a rash, irritation, swelling, or itching sensation on the eyelids, face, throat, or lips
  • Vision abnormalities in the form of decreased vision, appearance of black spots in the field of vision, or diplopia
  • Experiencing seizures, especially in the case of people with epilepsy
  • Difficult or slow speech
  • Heart rhythm disturbances with rapid heartbeat, palpitation, or coronary artery complications
  • Alterations in blood pressure that can manifest as paleness or bluish skin tone in the fingers, feet, ears, nose or jaw that can sometimes be accompanied by pain
  • Swelling of the colon manifested as pain in the lower left abdomen and diarrhea with traces of blood

In the event that the person taking sumatripran experiences any of these symptoms, they should contact their doctor quickly to seek emergency treatment that can help alleviate them.Sumatriptan is a selective serotonin receptor antagonist.

Additional information to consider

Before starting the consumption of sumatriptan, the doctor should be informed if they are taking other types of anti-migraine medication, since these could affect the properties of the drug. Other treatments for depression or manic/depressive illnesses such as bipolar disorder should also be considered.

  • In the case of women who are or who are trying to become pregnant, talk to their doctor before starting treatment with sumatriptan. To date there is little information on the way in which the drug affects pregnancies and, although there is no evidence that it causes an increased risk of malformation, it is best to avoid its consumption. In the case of women who are breastfeeding, it is recommended that there be a space of 12 hours between the consumption of the medicine and the feeding of the baby.
  • Currently, the efficacy of sumatriptan in children between 10 and 17 years of age has not been proven, so it is recommended that its use be avoided. The same goes for people over the age of 64.
  • In patients with hepatic insufficiency or renal insufficiency, moderate and controlled use of the drug should be made.

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