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Treating Migraine and Headaches

Sumatriptan is an inexpensive prescription medication used in treating migraines. It helps relieve pain, headache, and other migraine symptoms including vomiting, nausea and sensitivity to light and sound. Many people who take Sumatriptan finds that their headache goes away completely. Others find that their headache is much less painful and is able to go back to normal activities.

Sumatriptan is approved by the Food and Drug Administration in treating moderate to severe migraines since 1991. In some instances, in treating cluster headaches that interfere with one’s ability to perform the daily task. It’s one of the most prescribed medications in the US with more than eight million prescriptions.

What condition does Sumatriptan treat?

Sumatriptan is effective in relieving cluster headaches and migraine attacks with or without aura in adults. It is one of the triptans group of medication indicated for acute migraine attacks.

How do Sumatriptan works?

  • Sumatriptan belongs to the family of drugs known as triptans. Triptans are a family of drugs developed to treat acute migraine attacks. Triptans are selective serotonin receptor agonist that works by stimulating the serotonin.
  • The exact cause of migraine attack is not known but it is thought to involve changes in the serotonin levels in the brain. The throbbing pain that one feels is the result of the widening or swelling of the blood vessels in the brain.
  • This drug acts on the serotonin receptors or 5HT found on the blood vessels in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter found in the brain. It has a wide variety of functions in the body. One function of serotonin is to reduce inflammation in the blood vessels. Another function of serotonin is to prevent the blood vessels from constricting.
  • It works like serotonin that helps quiet down the overactive pain nerves.
  • It often relieves other symptoms that come together with migraines such as vomiting, nausea, sensitivity to light and sound.

What is the dosage of Sumatriptan?

  • This drug comes in 50mg or 100mg tablets. The recommended starting dose is 50mg at the first sign of migraine headaches. If you feel much better after your first dose but your headache comes back, take another dose but you have to wait at least 2 hours before you take another dose.
  • Do not take more than 200 mg within 24 hours.

How to take Sumatriptan?

  • Sumatriptan is effective in reducing the symptoms of a migraine attack. It is generally well-tolerated. It is intended to be taken only as needed with some restrictions. Before you take this medication, make sure you review the dose your doctor gave to you.
  • Take Sumatriptan at the first sign of migraine headaches. Do not take it even when you start getting warning signals or aura. You should wait for the headache to starts. Remember that this medicine will not prevent migraine attacks.
  • Take it with or without as directed by your doctor. Swallow the tablet whole with water.
  • Do not take more or less than what is prescribed to you by your doctor.

What are the precautions in taking Sumatriptan?

  • This drug is not an ordinary pain reliever that you can take whenever you want. It will not relieve pain other than headaches due to migraines.
  • Do not use this in preventing migraine attacks nor in preventing cluster headaches. This should only be used if other medications like pain reliever, aspirin and acetaminophen do not help relieve the throbbing pain due to migraine.
  • Do not use this in combination with ergotamine. In some cases, with monoamine oxidase inhibitors in treating migraine attacks.
  • This medicine is suitable for adults only. It is not recommended for use in children or elderly people. It’s not also suitable for people with:
    • Very high or uncontrolled high blood pressure
    • Severe liver problems
    • Who have had a heart attack, irregular heartbeat or angina pectoris
    • Who have had stroke or mini-stroke
    • Poor blood circulation in the legs and arms
    • Who suffers from ophthalmoplegic migraine ( a type of migraines associated with paralysis of the eye muscles)
    • Who suffers from basilar migraine ( a type of migraine where the aura may involve speech problems, dizziness, ringing in the ears or unsteadiness)
    • Who suffers from hemiplegic migraine ( a type of migraines characterized by temporary paralysis of one side of the body)
  • Lower dose and extra monitoring are needed for people with:
    • History of seizures such as epilepsy
    • Kidney or liver problems
    • Raised blood pressure
    • Who are allergic to any of its ingredients
    • Risk factors for heart diseases such as high cholesterol level, smoking, obesity, diabetes, women who passed the menopausal period, a man over 40 years of age.
  • Sumatriptan can cause serious side effects among those who have heart or blood vessel disease. Discuss with your doctor the risk of using this medication as well as the benefits it can give before taking this medication..
  • Do not use this medicine if you are using MAO inhibitors within the past two weeks. Do not also use this if you are taking other triptans for your migraine within the past 24 hours.
  • If you are experiencing chest discomfort, neck or jaw tightness after using Sumatriptan call your doctor.
  • Do not use Sumatriptan longer than 10 days within a month as this can worsen your headache.

Costs of Generic Sumatriptan vs Imitrex

Sumatriptan is a generic pill and is cheaper compared with the brand name Imitrex. Sumatriptan 50 mg cost $2.71 per unit price or $65 for 20 tabs. While the brand name Imitrex cost $341.6 for 20 tabs or $17.08 per unit price.