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What does it do?

Sumatriptan is used to treat migraines and cluster headaches.

How should you take it?

Take sumatriptan as directed when your symptoms first start.
Take the tablets with a large glass of water.
Inject the injection under the skin as directed.

If your symptoms get better, but then return, you can take another dose after 1 hour (injection) or 2 hours (tablet).
If sumatriptan does not help, do not take any further doses for the same attack, as it is unlikely to work. You can still use sumatriptan for a new attack.
Do not take more than the maximum daily dose advised by your health professional.

Can you take other medicines?

Some medicines available without a prescription may react with sumatriptan including:

  • cold and flu medicines containing dextromethorphan (e.g. Robitussin Dry Cough Forte®)

Tell your pharmacist or doctor about all medicines or treatments that you may be taking, including vitamins, herbal products (e.g. St John's wort) or recreational drugs.

What side effects might you notice?

Side EffectsRecommended action

Pain, tightness or pressure in your chest, throat or jaw

Fast or irregular heartbeat

Tell your doctor immediately

Drowsiness, tiredness or weakness, dizziness

Hot flushing

Burning sensation, tingling or numbness

Pain, tenderness or redness at injection site

Tell your doctor if troublesome

If you notice any other effects, discuss them with your doctor or pharmacist.

Other information:

  • Tell your health professional if you have heart or blood vessel problems, high blood pressure, or if you have ever had a stroke, or 'mini-stroke'.
  • Tell your health professional if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding.
  • Tell your doctor if you need to use sumatriptan several times each week. Using sumatriptan too often can cause a different type of headache. Your doctor can talk with you about different medicines that are taken every day to prevent migraines or cluster headaches.
  • Do not use sumatriptan to prevent migraines or cluster headaches.
  • Sumatriptan can impair your ability to do tasks such as driving or using machines. Alcohol makes this worse. Discuss your risk with your health professional. (search NZTA - Are you safe to drive?)

This leaflet contains important, but not all, information about this medicine.

Prepared by the PILs Committee at Christchurch Hospital, Canterbury District Health Board, New Zealand. January 2020

For more general information about this sheet annd its contents, see: What does a My Medicines sheet cover?

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About My Medicines

My Medicines Patient Information Leaflets (PILs) contain important, but not all, information about the medicines they describe.

For more information about the sheets, see: What does a My Medicines sheet cover?

My Medicines is developed by a team at the Canterbury District Health Board. Our team is made up of doctors, pharmacists, and a non-medical person to help us keep to plain language. We also discuss our information with specialist health professionals or groups when needed