Sumatriptan Tablets

As a generic, low-cost version of the branded medicine Imigran, sumatriptan tablets are among the most widely prescribed migraine treatments in the UK.

Taking sumatriptan does not prevent future migraines or reduce the frequency of migraine attacks, however it does provide relief from headaches, pains, and other headache symptoms (such as nausea and vomiting).

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What is Sumatriptan and what is it used for?

Sumatriptan tablets are commonly used to treat migraine attacks, whether they come with an aura (temporary visual or auditory disturbances).

Taking this medication does not prevent future migraines or reduce the frequency of migraine attacks.

However it does provide relief from headaches, pains, and other headache symptoms (such as nausea and vomiting).

How does it work?

Sumatriptan contains the active ingredient sumatriptan succinate, and is classified as a serotonin (or 5-HT1) agonist. The medication is used to treat migraines. A migraine headache is believed to be caused by changes in brain chemistry that cause the blood vessels in the brain to swell, leading to throbbing pain.

Sumatriptan works by narrowing blood vessels to relieve migraine headaches and other migraine symptoms.

Who should not use Sumatriptan?

Sumatriptan is not recommended for people who:

  • Are under the age of 18 or over 65
  • Suffered/suffering from heart stroke, angina, heart attack, high blood pressure
  • Have liver kidney problems
  • Allergic to any of the active or inactive ingredients

How do I take Sumatriptan?

At Access Doctor you can choose between a 50mg or a 100mg dose of Sumatriptan, up to a maximum of 18 tablets.

  • You should take one tablet with water as soon as you feel a headache coming on. Even if you use it later in the headache, it is still effective.
  • You can take it with or without food.
  • You can take a second tablet at least two hours after taking the first if you experience another headache.
  • A maximum of 6 tablets (300mg) should be taken in 24 hours.
  • Do not take more than one tablet at a time.

Generic Imigran (Sumatriptan) — cheaper, but just as effective

The original patent for drugs made with sumatriptan succinate held by GlaxoSmithKline has now expired, which means that other pharmaceutical companies can now make and sell cheaper versions.

Sumatriptan succinate (the active ingredient) is the same in both branded Imigran and Sumatriptan. In spite of being medically equivalent, generic Sumatriptan tablets are significantly cheaper than branded Imigran. You can buy 6 tablets of Sumatriptan online, which is not available over the counter.

How long does it take to work?

Time to Take Effect - 45 minutes
Duration of Effect - 2 hours

Common myths about migraines

There are up to 8 million migraine sufferers in the UK alone, but there are many myths and misconceptions surrounding this common condition. There are many types of migraines, and not all migraines are the same. They affect men, women, and children.

A migraine typically lasts a couple of hours, but in some cases it may last for days. It is possible for some people to identify certain migraine triggers, such as alcohol and chocolate, but not everyone is able to identify these triggers.

The good news is that migraine sufferers don't need to 'just live with it'. There are treatment options available that can help them manage their condition.

Sumatriptan warnings

Sumatriptan has been widely used for many years and is generally considered to be a safe medication.

Imigran (sumatriptan) may cause temporary blood vessel narrowing. Sumatriptan is not recommended for people who have experienced strokes or mini-strokes, have poor circulation, have a history of angina (heart pain with exertion) or have had heart attacks.

Sumatriptan can in rare situations cause serious heart problems even in people with no history of circulation problems. Check with your GP before taking sumatriptan if you belong to one of the following groups:

  • Heavy smokers
  • Men over 40
  • Postmenopausal women.

There are some rare cases of migraine headaches resulting in paralysis, vision loss, and speech loss.

In these cases, sumatriptan is not recommended:

  • If you suffer from headaches, (it is advised to see your GP before self-medicating)
  • if headaches appear for the first time over the age of 40
  • if headaches appear more frequently and last longer than usual
  • When headaches are different from before or there are new symptoms.

You should not use Sumatriptan tablets if:

  • You are allergic to Sumatriptan or any of its ingredients
  • You have high blood pressure
  • Your liver function is severely impaired
  • You are using or have recently used ergotamine and similar medicines (e.g. methsergide maleate) or MAO inhibitors (e.g. moclobemide).

Sumatriptan side effects

Sumatriptan may cause side effects such as pain, heaviness, pressure, tightness and unusual feelings, including numbness, tingling, warmth or cold. Some of these symptoms may be severe, but they usually pass quickly.

For a complete list of side effects, please refer to the Patient Information Leaflet enclosed with your medicines.

Other common side effects include:

  • A feeling of being sick (nausea) or being sick (vomiting), although this could be caused by the migraine itself
  • Tiredness or drowsiness
  • Feeling dizzy, weak, or getting hot flashes
  • Temporary increase in blood pressure
  • Shortness of breath

After taking sumatriptan, if you experience chest discomfort or tightness, do not panic; although these symptoms may be intense, they should pass quickly. If they do not pass quickly or become severe, seek medical attention immediately.

If you find that your medicine is effective but that you experience mild side effects, you may want to try lowering the strength of your medication to see if your treatment is still effective without the side effects.

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If you need urgent assistance, do not use this service. Call 111, or in an emergency call 999.