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What Are the Most Common Sumatriptan Side Effects?

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  • Written By: R. Bargar
  • Edited By: Jessica Seminara
  • Last Modified Date: 04 November 2016
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Sumatriptan, used for treating migraine headaches, is available by prescription only. The medication comes in three forms: tablets for oral use, nasal sprays and an injectable solution. Sumatriptan side effects are similar for all forms of the medication. The most common are paresthesia — feelings of numbness or tingling, and unexpected feelings of warmth or coldness. Muscle and chest pain or pressure are other common sumatriptan side effects.

Some patients experience dizziness or drowsiness after taking sumatriptan at the onset of a migraine headache. For this reason, it is advised that patients refrain from activities that require mental alertness. Driving, using machinery and other activities needing close attention should be avoided. Fainting spells are less common and are considered a severe reaction requiring medical attention. Drinking alcohol can aggravate each of these sumatriptan side effects.

Additional common sumatriptan side effects include a change in taste or the sensation of an odd taste, especially when using the nasal spray. Nausea and diarrhea are other temporary and mild side effects. Most sumatriptan side effects diminish over time and can be treated easily. On the other hand, some are severe and require immediate medical attention. These include irregular heartbeat, hallucinations, seizures, strong chest, neck or jaw pain, and loss of vision.

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Allergic reactions are uncommon but potentially serious. Signs of an allergic reaction include difficulty breathing, rashes, itching, swelling of the face or mouth and tightness in the chest. Users of sumatriptan should tell their health care provider if they experience any of these symptoms. Before taking sumatriptan, migraine sufferers are advised to tell their doctors of any allergies to foods, animals, or food additives.

Sumatriptan may interact with certain prescription drugs. Most migraine medications of the ergot type, along with others, should not be taken within 24 hours of sumatriptan. Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) — medications used to treat anxiety and depression — also interact with sumatriptan. It is recommended that they not be taken with this drug. Migraine sufferers should let their doctors know all medications they are currently taking.

Patients should also give their health care professional a complete medical history, as sumatriptan is not advised with certain medical conditions. Any history of cardiovascular disease, heart attack or stroke may affect the usage of the migraine medication. Patients with liver disease, kidney disorders, severe liver disease or gastrointestinal problems may also be affected. Adequate studies of the safety this medication’s use in pregnant women have not been conducted. It is believed that it is safe to use while breastfeeding.

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serenesurface
Post 3

I think that most triptan group drugs give me nausea and body aches. I've used sumatriptan, as well as other triptans and I had similar side effects with all of them. I know people who respond much better to sumatriptan though, so this may not happen to everyone. Some medications work for some people but not others. It's not really possible to know if the body is going to tolerate a drug well before trying it. So if I had to do it all over again, I would still give triptan medications a chance. I'll try anything my doctor recommends to relieve my migraines.

ysmina
Post 2

@SarahGen-- Are you having shadow headaches/shadow pain?

This is a pain that occurs in the area of the face and head before cluster headaches. Unfortunately, sumatriptan may trigger this type of pain in some people. I know it sounds very odd that a medication meant to treat a symptom could also cause it. But it happens with many different types of medications. I suggest you call your doctor and let her or him know about this.

The only way to know if the headache is a side effect of sumatriptan is to stop taking the medication for a while and see if the symptoms go away. But don't try it before asking your doctor first.

SarahGen
Post 1

I was prescribed sumatriptan for migraines several weeks ago. The medication has helped. It has reduced my migraines. However, I'm experiencing headaches now. My issue has always been migraines, not headaches so I'm not sure where this is coming from. Could it be due to sumatriptan?

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