Sumatriptan is a prescription medication used to treat migraine. It is licensed and sold under the brand name Imigran in the UK. It makes up part of a class of drugs called Serotonin receptor agonists, commonly referred to as the ‘TRIPTANS’, and  works by inhibiting the release of the calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP).


In this article, we will go into detail about how Sumatriptan tablets are used to treat migraine.


How does sumatriptan work?

It is not entirely understood how the inhibition of CGRP works to reduce the symptoms of migraine, but it’s speculated that the increased activity of the trigeminal nociceptive neurons is a major contributor to the reduction in the intensity of migraines. Additionally, the medication helps to narrow down the blood vessels in the areas affected by migraine, which helps to minimize the number of signals that are sent from those regions in the brain. This will reduce sensitivity to pain, light, and movement.


How to take sumatriptan tablets?

Sumatriptan tablets should be taken with water immediately at the first sign of an acute migraine attack. It can be taken either before or after a meal, as it does not affect the absorption of the medication. It will help to minimize and treat the effects of the migraine before or after they occur, but keep in mind that sumatriptan will not work as a preventative method for migraines, and cannot be used as a form of migraine prophylaxis. Sumatriptan will also not work for any other type of headache that is not a migraine, even if the symptoms are similar. If the first tablet alleviates your symptoms but a second onset occurs, you can take another dose to combat it at least 2 hours after. If the pain persists after the first pill without any sign of alleviation, do not take a second tablet. Be sure not to consume more than 300mg of sumatriptan in one day.

Doses of sumatriptan range between 50mg to 100mg depending on the severity of the migraine. If the pain comes and goes within the span of several hours, it may be best to avoid taking medication altogether and to speak to a medical professional about it. Overdosing on sumatriptan can lead to chest pain, pressure in the chest cavity and difficulties in breathing.


How long does sumatriptan take to work?

On average it will take around 30 minutes before you start seeing results after taking a dose of sumatriptan. At Smart Chemist you can also buy imigran nasal spray, an alternative form of sumatriptan which is faster acting and takes only 15 minutes to work. The dosage of imigran nasal spray is typically lower thanks to it’s improved absorption however the effects may not last as long. Although sumatriptan tablets tend to be the favoured route of administration, the formulation which works best for you may vary as no two migraines are the same. Further information on different treatments which are available to buy online for the treatment of migraine can be found here.


Does sumatriptan work?

Up to 64% of patients report having a positive experience with sumatriptan when taken without any other medication. However, some drugs may have an effect on the onset of sumatriptan, which may prevent it from having a significant effect.


How do I know if I should take sumatriptan?

If you are experiencing a throbbing headache on one side of your head, it is most likely a migraine – this means that sumatriptan is a viable solution for you. If the pain spreads to the face and neck area along with a sensation of nausea and dizziness, it may be a severe variation which will require you to see a doctor.


Why doesn’t sumatriptan work for me?

There are several reasons why sumatriptan tablets may not work, from the dosage being too low, interference from other medication, to a genetic predisposition to the unavailability of the medication – there is also evidence to suggest that the combination of sumatriptan and ibuprofen has a significant effect on treating severe onsets of migraines.


Who cannot take sumatriptan?

Patients with the conditions listed below are advised against taking sumatriptan:

An allergy to sumatriptan or other sulfonamide antibiotics
A history of cardiovascular problems
A weak respiratory system
At risk of a stroke
High blood pressure
Liver diseases
A history of seizures 


Are there medications I can’t take sumatriptan with?

The following medications can interfere with sumatriptan tablets, leading to reduced effectiveness or an adverse effect:


SSRI anti-depressants such as citalopram, escitalopram, fluoxetine, sertraline, paroxetine

Ergotamine, another medication used to treat migraines

Other migraine medication such as rizatriptan, zolmitriptan

MAOIs (monoamine oxidase inhibitors) used to treat depression

St John’s Wort


If you are looking to take sumatriptan tablets but are currently taking any of the above medications, speak to your doctor for an alternative treatment or speak to a member of the Smart Chemist team.


Can I buy sumatriptan tablets online?

If you are looking to buy sumatriptan tablets online for the effective treatment of migraine, Smart Chemists provides a convenient solution for sumatriptan tablets to be delivered to your home. Get in touch with us today to see how we can help. For more information an alternative migraine treatments available to buy online visit our migraine clinic on the Smart Chemist website.

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