Sumatriptan...does it abort or just delay the migraine?

After 10 years or so of avoiding ANY migraine drugs because they scare me I decided I would give sumatriptan a go last week , my migraine started Thursday and took nothing as I thought it would be gone by Friday but no, still there so I took a Triptan and was fine, amazing! Did the same Saturday as well. Woke up Sunday migraine still there but ramped up a level so took nothing hoping it would fizzle out then Monday still there took another Triptan and gone again....sorry for rambling here! Woke up today would appear I have another migraine starting as dizzy nauseous etc. is this normal on triptans I mean they definitely take the migraine away but it seems to just keep coming back .... Is anyone else the same? I know I am only allowed 8 per month so can't just keep throwing them back tempting as it is because of the relief they seem to give! Any thoughts would be appreciated :)

16 Replies

  • I have had this with every single triptan, not just sumatriptan, although for me it was a gradual thing. The first few years of using maybe 1 or 2 sumatriptans a month the migraine cleared and there were no rebound migraines. Then I got to a stage where 2 times out of 3 times the migraine would come back about 24hrs after I took a triptan. If I decided to take another triptan on Day2 of migraine, it would just come back the next day. Last October I decided to stop taking triptans all together and my migraines/days reduced from 8 a month to 4. In other words I don't get a Day2 or rebound migraine. Obviously it's no fun going thru a migraine without a triptan and it is useful to know if I need to be upright for any reason I could take a triptan but I know if I do that, the day after will be a complete wipe out. Sorry I have no solution other for you to try another triptan and work your way down the list (I think there are 6? different ones to try).

  • I have similar experience with sumatriptan. It does work, but wears off and migraine returns. I have found different triptans have varying lengths of effectiveness, and also some work faster than others. I switched from sumatriptan to naratriptan for this reason several years ago. But in recent months found naratriptan wasn't strong enough to kick the migrain so didn't really matter how long it lasted. So a couple of months agao I switched to eletriptan, which I like. It seems to work well, side effects are fewer and less severe.

    I recommend you goodle the triptans to find a comparison of half life (how long the drug stays in your body) and how long they take to kick in (I found naratriptan took longer to take effect than sumatriptan). And just go through a bit of trial and error to see what works for you.

    I am a big fan of the triptans. Without them, my quality of life would be much worse.

  • I have not had this experience with sumatriptan.I take 100mg right off and it takes the migraine away for good.I started on 50mg but ramped up to 100 about 2 years ago and have had no problem.I take approx 10 tabs a month and my Doctor says as long as I am not increasing my need for them every month then he is ok with it.As an added note last week I did not get to sumatriptan in time (first time in 4 years)and could not keep anything down and for the first time tried the nasal spray Zomig which with Ondansetron for the vomiting worked really well.

    I too am a huge fan of triptans and without them would have difficulty functioning several days a month,

  • Thanks for your replies it's good to know that there Is positive feedback. I will look into your suggestions. :)

  • I have had the same experience with Sumitriptan. I find it works great, maybe too great. I recently had to see my neurologist because I was using up to 15 doses in a 30 day period.

    I use the nasal injectors rather than pills and they are 20 mg. My doctor increased my propranolol to 40 mg at bedtime from 20 mg. I haven't used sumitripitan for 2 weeks now.

    Insurance limits how much Sumitripitan I can use also. When I last picked up a prescription

    I received a total of 12 doses and was told that I would not be elgible for a refill for 2 months.

  • thanks flyby i saw yr post the other re betablockers but they made me depressed when i tried them. i may well give them another go tho as ive done all natural treatments and no improvement.glad youve found something that works :-)

  • I have to say that I tried a 20mg dose of propranolol in the morning to supplement my night time dose but it made me so lethargic I could not function during the day. No easy solutions to any of this and I think over the years I have tried it all. Except medical marajuana! I have never used drugs but if I thought it would work I would probably try it. Sometime pain calls for desperate measures.

  • I also used injectable Sumatriptan until insurance would no longer pay for it. I then switched to 100 mg tablets, which just take longer to work. The upside of the tablets is that they are incredibly cheap, so I just pay full price and don't even claim them on my insurance. That way I can get refills whenever I need them.

  • I'm am also a big fan of Triptans. I use Sumatriptan nasal spray as it is fast acting & they have been life changing. If I take one it must be when you first experience your symptoms ie. light sensitivity & they work much better that way. Don't wait until the migraine has taken hold as they are not as effective. I have been on Sumatriptan for a decade now & I have found that they are not as effective for hormonal type migraine & I may have to take more than one dose if it's hormonal migraine.

    Also I also find that they work better if you have a sleep immediately after taking one. The dosage may not be the right level for you as we are all different. It also may not be the Triptan for you. Good luck. I hope you find what works for you.

  • thanks karryon thats interesting bcos this migraine was menstrual so always the biggie. i have read that frivatriptan is good for these as they give 24 hours relief so i may ask dr for some.

  • Thanks for letting me know about frivatriptan because I am getting lots of menstrual migraines & I wouldn't mind trying something better suited. I have loved my Sumatriptan but not so good for these recent "raging hormone type" migraine. :-)

  • i think its called frovatriptan not frivatriptan like ive put!

  • Thanks flybye, I,m just wondering whether that would work for me, I think I would have to start at a lower dose? But could build up I guess.

  • I have been taking Sumatriptan for approx 20 years. Since insurance limits the amount to 9 tabs/month, I ask for 100 mg and cut them in half to get twice the amount. Also, when I feel a migraine coming, I immediately take 2-3 Migraine formula tabs (aspirin, aceteminophen, caffeine) and if that doesn't abort the migraine in 20-30 min then I take a Sumatriptan. The key is not to wait to begin medication. Also helpful is a product called Headache Buster (or Sinus Buster)'s an all natural nasal spray made with capsicum annuum 3X. I never leave home without all of the above mentioned. My GPs have put me on all sorts of preventative meds, but I didn't like the side effects and I don't want to be medicated for the rest of my life anyway! My migraines have been reduced from 9-10/month to 2/month ( I think they're hormonal) and the reason is because I have been doing a detox/purification every 6 months and continue to eat carefully ie consuming very little sugar, flour, alcohol, caffeine, excitotoxins MSG, processed foods, etc. It has become a way of life and as a benefit I also lost 20 lbs which hasn't come back. I wish you all the best!

  • Hi Joyeuse

    I've never used the HeadBuster spray for migraine and would like to try it, but i live in the UK and it doesn't seem in stock anywhere here online. Also just wanted to check that it is ok to take normal pain relief for migraine before taking Sumatriptan? I have only just started taking Sumatriptan, my 2nd day in fact, i feel over-joyed as it worked amazingly well yesterday and no symptoms after, but today the migraine returned and i have taken a further 50g tablet, if it returns after this i am scared that it will just keep returning and the Sumatriptan is only delaying the process? So don't want to go down that dependancy route...hmmm? I have been having migraines usually 2 to 3 a week over last 12 months, seems to be hormone related as peri-menopausal? Anyone else suffering increasing frequency of migraines for this reason? Best wishes to all, and thank you for sharing helpful experiences.

  • I have been taking Sumatriptan for about 15 years. Until I was given Botox, triptans were the only effective treatment. The problem is that Triptans generate rebound headaches and it is very easy to become dependent upon them: you should try never to take more than two a week. Some triptans are longer lasting in the effect than Sumatriptan which works very quickly (especially if you take the injections). Triptan overuse is a major problem in migraine.

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