Nervous System Home > Sumatriptan

Clinical Effects

In one study, 52 to 62 percent of people with migraines had no or mild pain within two hours of taking sumatriptan tablets, compared to only 27 percent who did not take the medication. Within four hours, as many as 79 percent of people who had taken sumatriptan had migraine relief, compared to just 38 percent of people not taking it. Similar results were seen in studies of the other forms of sumatriptan.

When and How to Take Sumatriptan

Some general considerations for when and how to take sumatriptan include the following:
  • Sumatriptan comes in tablets, a nasal spray, a skin patch, and an injection.
  • The medication should be taken as soon as possible once a migraine or cluster headache starts.
  • Swallow the tablets whole with a drink of water or other fluids.
  • The nasal spray and injections both come with pamphlets that describe exactly how to use them.
  • The patch is a special, battery-controlled patch that delivers the medication using a tiny electrical current. Follow the directions for use very carefully. 
  • If your headache comes back or does not go away, you can take a second dose of sumatriptan after waiting at least two hours from the time you took your first dose of tablets, patch, or nasal spray (or one hour after the first dose of the injection). Let your healthcare provider know if the medicine does not work completely after one dose.
  • For sumatriptan to work properly, it must be taken as prescribed. This drug will not work if you stop taking it.

Dosing Information

The dose of sumatriptan your healthcare provider recommends will vary, depending on a number of factors, including:
  • How you respond to the medication
  • Other medical conditions you may have
  • Other medications you may be currently taking.
As always, do not adjust your dose unless your healthcare provider specifically instructs you to do so.
(Click Sumatriptan Dosing for more information.)
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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