Sumatriptan Oral Tablet | Side Effects, Dosage, Uses & More
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Generic Name:

sumatriptan, Oral tablet

All Brands

  • Imitrex
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Highlights for sumatriptan

Oral tablet
1

Sumatriptan comes in the form of an oral tablet, a nasal spray, a transdermal (skin) patch, or an injectable solution.

2

Sumatriptan is used to treat migraine headaches. It’s used when headache symptoms first start. It’s not used to prevent headaches.

3

Sumatriptan oral tablets are available as the brand-name drug Imitrex. They’re also available in generic form.

4

The more common side effects of this drug can include feeling warm or cold, tingling or prickling sensations, and pressure or pain in the chest, neck, jaw, or throat. Side effects can also include dizziness or tiredness.

5

Sumatriptan may cause serious problems with your heart or blood circulation. Patients who have certain serious health conditions, such as heart disease, or who are at risk of heart disease should not use this medication.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Heart attack

Sumatriptan can cause serious heart problems such as heart attack, angina (chest pain), or cardiac arrest. Doctors may prescribe this drug to certain patients at risk of heart disease and have them take the first dose in the doctor’s office.

Arrhythmias

Sumatriptan may cause your heart rhythm to change, which can be dangerous. If you feel changes in the way your heart beats, stop taking sumatriptan and call your doctor right away.

Pressure or pain in the chest, throat, neck, or jaw

Sumatriptan can cause a feeling of tightness, pain, or pressure in your chest, throat, neck, or jaw. In general, this feeling can be a symptom of heart attack, but it may not be when you’re taking this drug. If you have this symptom, call your doctor.

Brain hemorrhage or stroke

Severe bleeding in the brain (brain hemorrhage) or stroke can occur if you take this drug. It’s not clear if sumatriptan is a direct cause of these effects.

Spasms in the bowel, stomach, or peripheral blood vessels

Sumatriptan may reduce blood flow to areas in the legs, stomach, or bowel (intestines). If you have unusual symptoms such as severe pain in these areas, call your doctor right away.

Loss of vision

Temporary or permanent blindness can occur if you take this drug. It’s not known if sumatriptan is a direct cause of these effects.

Medication-induced headache

Taking too much of several headache drugs, such as sumatriptan, may make your headaches worse.

High blood pressure

Sumatriptan can cause severe increases in your blood pressure. You and your doctor should check your blood pressure regularly.

Seizures

Sumatriptan may cause seizures. If you’ve had seizures in the past, ask your doctor if you should take sumatriptan.

Drug features

Sumatriptan is a prescription drug. It comes in an oral tablet, nasal spray, transdermal patch, and injectable solution.

The sumatriptan tablet is available as the brand-name drug Imitrex. It’s also available as a generic drug. Generic drugs usually cost less. In some cases, they may not be available in every strength or form as the brand-name version.  

Sumatriptan may be used as part of a combination therapy. This means you may need to take it with other medications.

Why it's used

All forms of sumatriptan are used to treat migraine headaches. The injectable solution is also used to treat cluster headaches.

How it works

Sumatriptan belongs to a class of drugs called serotonin-1 receptor agonists.

More Details

How it works

Sumatriptan belongs to a class of drugs called serotonin-1 receptor agonists. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.

A migraine or cluster headache causes the blood vessels in the brain to expand. It also causes a release of chemicals in the brain that can cause inflammation (swelling and irritation). Sumatriptan works by helping to bring your blood vessels back to their normal size. It also helps prevent your body’s release of these chemicals that cause inflammation.  

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sumatriptan Side Effects

Oral tablet

More Common Side Effects

The more common side effects that can occur with use of sumatriptan tablets include:

  • feeling warm or cold

  • tingling or prickling sensations in your skin

  • pressure or pain in your chest, neck, jaw, or throat

  • dizziness

  • tiredness

If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious Side Effects

Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 9-1-1 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

  • Heart attack. Symptoms can include:

    • chest pain that spreads to your shoulder or arm
    • excessive sweating
    • dizziness
    • weakness
    • shortness of breath
  • Other heart problems. Symptoms can include:

    • severe chest pain
    • fast heart rate
    • irregular heart beat
    • palpitations (feeling like your heart is skipping beats)
  • Abnormal feelings in your chest (not related to your heart), throat, neck, or jaw. Symptoms can include:

    • tightness
    • pain
    • pressure
    • heaviness
  • Vision problems. Symptoms can include

    • blurred vision
    • loss of vision (may be temporary or permanent)
  • Stroke or brain hemorrhage. Symptoms can include:

    • headache
    • face drooping
    • trouble speaking
    • numbness or weakness on one side of your body
    • loss of balance
  • Changes in mental health. Symptoms can include:

    • confusion
    • agitation
    • hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t real)
    • thoughts of suicide or hurting yourself
  • Digestive tract problems. Symptoms can include:

    • pain in your abdomen (stomach area)
    • bloody diarrhea
    • nausea and vomiting
  • Serotonin syndrome. Symptoms can include:

    • agitation
    • confusion
    • hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t real)
    • fast heart rate
    • shaking
    • sweating
    • big pupils (dark centers of your eyes)
    • diarrhea
    • rigid muscles
  • Seizures

Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

Sumatriptan may cause drowsiness.

Soon after you take it, the oral tablet can cause a feeling of tightness or pressure in your throat, neck, chest, or jaw. Call your doctor if this occurs.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.
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sumatriptan May Interact with Other Medications

Oral tablet

Sumatriptan can interact with other medications, vitamins, or herbs you may be taking. An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well.

To help avoid interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs you’re taking. To find out how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Medications that might interact with this drug

Drugs you should not use with sumatriptan

Do not take these drugs with sumatriptan. Doing so can cause dangerous effects in the body. Examples of these drugs include:

  • Monoamine oxidase-A inhibitors (MAOIs), such as phenelzine, isocarboxazid, or tranylcypromine. 
    • Taking these drugs with sumatriptan can cause a severe condition called serotonin syndrome. Symptoms can include agitation, sweating, fast heartbeat, or hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t real). They can also include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or loss of balance.
  • Ergot-containing drugs, such as dihydroergotamine or methysergide.  
    • Taking these drugs with sumatriptan raises your risk of certain side effects, such as tightness or pressure in your chest. Don’t take these medications if you’ve taken sumatriptan in the last 24 hours.
  • Other serotonin-1 receptor agonists, such as almotriptan or zolmitriptan.
    • Taking these drugs with sumatriptan raises your risk of certain side effects, such as tightness or pressure in your chest. Don’t take these medications if you’ve taken sumatriptan in the last 24 hours.

Interactions that increase your risk of side effects
  • Side effects from sumatriptan: Taking sumatriptan with certain medications raises your risk of side effects from sumatriptan. Examples of these drugs include: 
    • Tricyclic antidepressants, such as amitriptyline. 
      • You’re at higher risk of developing a serious condition called serotonin syndrome if you take these drugs. Symptoms can include agitation, sweating, fast heartbeat, or hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t real). They can also include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or loss of balance.
    • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors used to treat depression, such as sertraline or fluoxetine. 
      • You’re at higher risk of developing a serious condition called serotonin syndrome if you take these drugs. Symptoms can include agitation, sweating, fast heartbeat, or hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t real). They can also include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or loss of balance.
    • Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, such as venlafaxine or duloxetine.  
      • You’re at higher risk of developing a serious condition called serotonin syndrome if you take these drugs. Symptoms can include agitation, sweating, fast heartbeat, or hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t real). They can also include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or loss of balance.
    • Medications used to control headache pain, such as dihydroergotamine, codeine, or hydrocodone.
      • Using too many medications to help control your headache symptoms may make your headache worse. Talk with your doctor about which medications to take to help manage your headache symptoms.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.

People with heart conditions

Sumatriptan may cause serious problems with your heart. Tell your doctor if you’ve had a heart attack before. Also tell them if you have any other heart condition, such as coronary artery disease (CAD) or angina (chest pain). If you have any of these conditions, you should not use this drug. Your doctor will find other options to treat your symptoms of migraine or cluster headache. If you have certain risk factors for CAD, your doctor will give you tests to see if you have CAD. If you don’t, your doctor may prescribe this drug, but they may have you take the first dose in their office.

People with heart rhythm disorders

Sumatriptan may cause changes in your heart rhythm. Tell your doctor if you have any heart rhythm disorders. If you have certain types of heart rhythm disorders, you should not use this drug.

People with a previous stroke or mini-stroke

This drug may cause severe bleeding in the brain (brain hemorrhage) or stroke. If you’ve ever had any form of stroke in the past, you should not use this drug. 

People with problems with circulation

Sumatriptan may cause or worsen symptoms of a condition called peripheral vascular disease. If you have this condition, you should not use this drug. Your doctor will find other options to treat your symptoms of migraine or cluster headache.

People with serious bowel disorders

Sumatriptan may cause or worsen symptoms of a condition called ischemic bowel disease. If you have this condition, talk with your doctor about whether this drug is safe for you.

People with uncontrolled high blood pressure

Sumatriptan can increase your blood pressure. If you have high blood pressure that’s not controlled, you should not take this medication.

People with serious liver disease

You should not use sumatriptan. Your doctor will find other options to treat your symptoms of migraine or cluster headache.

People with seizures

Sumatriptan may cause seizures. If you’ve had seizures in the past, talk with your doctor about whether this drug is safe for you. 

Pregnant women

Sumatriptan is a category C pregnancy drug. That means two things:

  1. Research in animals has shown adverse effects to the fetus when the mother takes the drug.
  2. There haven’t been enough studies done in humans to be certain how the drug might affect the fetus.

Talk to your doctor if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant. This drug should be used only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus. 

Women who are breast-feeding

Sumatriptan may pass into breast milk and may cause side effects in a child who is breastfed. You should not breastfeed your child for at least 12 hours after taking sumatriptan.

Talk to your doctor if you breastfeed your child. 

For children

It has not been confirmed that sumatriptan is safe and effective for use in children. Do not use in people younger than 18 years.

When to call the doctor

Call your doctor if: 

  • Your symptoms of migraine headache don’t improve at all after taking this drug.
  • You become pregnant while taking this drug. 

Allergies

Sumatriptan can cause a severe allergic reaction. Symptoms can include:

  • hives
  • rash
  • swelling of the tongue, mouth, or throat
  • trouble breathing

If you have an allergic reaction, call your doctor or local poison control center right away. If your symptoms are severe, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room. 

Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it. Taking it again could be fatal (cause death).

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How to Take sumatriptan (Dosage)

Oral tablet

All possible dosages and drug forms may not be included here. Your dosage, drug form, and how often you take the drug will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

What are you taking this medication for?

Migraine headache

Generic: sumatriptan

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 25 mg, 50 mg, 100 mg

Brand: Imitrex

Form: Oral tablet
Strengths: 25 mg, 50 mg, 100 mg
Adult dosage (ages 18–64 years)
  • Typical starting dosage: One tablet (25 mg, 50 mg, or 100 mg) taken when migraine symptoms appear. 
  • Dosage increases: If you don’t get enough relief within 2 hours of the first dose, talk to your doctor. They may suggest that you take another tablet. Don’t take another dose without talking to your doctor first.
  • Maximum dosage: Do not take more than 200 mg within a 24-hour period
Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

It has not been confirmed that sumatriptan is safe and effective for use in children. Do not use in people younger than 18 years.

Senior dosage (ages 65 years and older)

The kidneys, liver, and heart of older adults may not work as well as they used to. This can cause your body to process drugs more slowly. As a result, more of a drug stays in your body for a longer time. This increases your risk of side effects.

Your doctor may start you on a lowered dose or a different medication schedule. This can help keep levels of this drug from building up too much in your body. Before prescribing sumatriptan, your doctor should also evaluate the condition of your heart if you have certain risks for heart disease.

Special considerations

Liver disease: If you have mild or moderate liver disease, you should not take more than 50 mg of sumatriptan in a single dose. If you have severe liver disease, you should not use sumatriptan at all.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always to speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.
Pharmacist's Advice
Healthline Pharmacist Editorial Team

Sumatriptan comes with serious risks if you don’t take it as prescribed.

If you don’t take the drug at all

Your symptoms of migraine or cluster headaches may not improve.

If you take too much

You could have dangerous levels of the drug in your body. Symptoms of an overdose of this drug can include:

  • seizures
  • tremor
  • paralysis of one limb, one side of the body, or the whole body
  • swelling and redness of the arms and legs
  • trouble breathing
  • loss of balance

If you think you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor or local poison control center. If your symptoms are severe, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

How to tell if the drug is working

Your symptoms of migraine or cluster headache should get better. If your symptoms do not get better at all after taking the drug, talk to your doctor before taking any more of the medication.

Sumatriptan is used for short-term treatment.

Important considerations for taking sumatriptan
take sumatriptan tablets with or without food You can take sumatriptan tablets with or without food
timing Take this drug at the time(s) recommended by your doctor
Do not cut or crush Do not cut or crush the tablet
storage Store this drug carefully See Details
medication is refillable A prescription for this medication is refillable See Details
Travel Travel See Details
Clinical monitoring Clinical monitoring See Details
not usually stocked Not every pharmacy stocks this drug. When filling your prescription, be sure to call ahead
Hidden costs Hidden costs See Details
prior authorization Insurance See Details

Store this drug carefully

  • Store sumatriptan tablets between 36°F and 86°F (2°C and 30°C).
  • Keep this drug away from light.
  • Don’t store this medication in moist or damp areas, such as bathrooms.

A prescription for this medication is refillable

You should not need a new prescription for this medication to be refilled. Your doctor will write the number of refills authorized on your prescription.

Travel

When traveling with your medication:

  • Always carry your medication with you. When flying, never put it into a checked bag. Keep it in your carry-on bag.
  • Don’t worry about airport x-ray machines. They can’t hurt your medication.
  • You may need to show airport staff the pharmacy label for your medication. Always carry the original prescription-labeled box with you.
  • Don’t put this medication in your car’s glove compartment or leave it in the car. Be sure to avoid doing this when the weather is very hot or very cold.

Clinical monitoring

Your doctor will monitor your health during your treatment with sumatriptan. They may check your: 

  • blood pressure
  • heart rate and rhythm
  • vision
  • kidney function
  • liver function 

You may need to have some blood tests done to be sure your kidneys and liver are working well.

Hidden costs

You may need to have blood tests during your treatment with sumatriptan. The cost of these tests will depend on your insurance coverage. 

Also, you may need to buy the following:

  • sterile alcohol wipes
  • syringes (if using sumatriptan vials)
  • a sharps container (for used syringes if using vials)

Insurance

Many insurance companies require a prior authorization for this drug. This means your doctor may need to get approval from your insurance company before your insurance company will pay for the prescription.

Are there any alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be better suited for you than others. Talk to your doctor about other drug options that may work for you.

What does the pill look like?

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How Much Does sumatriptan Cost?

Oral tablet

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Lowest price for sumatriptan

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These prices represent the lowest priced national pharmacies for sumatriptan on GoodRx. They may be lower than your insurance.

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Content developed in collaboration with University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group

Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on January 6, 2016

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.
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