8 Potential Side Effects Of Sumatriptan & How To Reduce Them

Sumatriptan (brand name Imitrex) is a common medication used for the treatment of migraines. 

Sumatriptan comes in various preparations, including an oral tablet, nasal spray, and an injectable solution, but this article will focus on the side effects associated with the oral tablet. 

As with every medication, Imitrex does come with a list of potential side effects. 

Understanding these side effects, including their frequency and how to reduce their impact, is vital for anyone taking sumatriptan. 

However, it is important to bear in mind that not everyone will experience these side effects, and their severity can vary from person to person.

What are the side effects of Sumatriptan and how can you reduce them?

As with most medications, sumatriptan has a list of potential side effects. While the list below is not exhaustive, it covers some of the most common side effects associated with sumatriptan and the most serious side effects to be aware of. 

1) Nausea and vomiting

Feeling sick or being sick is one of the most common side effects of sumatriptan. To reduce the feeling of nausea, try eating a bland diet, such as plain toast, as these foods are easy to digest

Natural remedies like ginger and peppermint may provide relief from nausea.

If you start to vomit soon after taking sumatriptan, you may not fully absorb the medication, so you should speak to your healthcare provider about this. 

It is important to have regular drinks of water if you’re vomiting to avoid becoming dehydrated.

2) Pressure/pain in the chest, neck, or jaw

This is also one of sumatriptan’s most common side effects and can be quite scary if you experience it, as the symptoms can closely mimic those associated with heart problems. 

As a side effect of sumatriptan, this pressure or pain sensation is often quite fleeting and soon subsides on its own. 

However, if you are experiencing these symptoms and they do not appear to be resolving, please seek urgent medical attention.

3) Dizziness

Feeling dizzy or lightheaded can commonly occur after taking a sumatriptan pill. 

To reduce this feeling, it is recommended to keep hydrated and avoid undertaking any strenuous activity until the feeling of dizziness has passed.

4) Muscle aches

Muscle aches, also called myalgia, is a side effect associated with many medications, including sumatriptan. 

This can be exacerbated by strenuous activity, so if you do experience muscle aches when taking sumatriptan, it is recommended to rest as much as possible. 

If the muscle aches are having a significant impact on your day, you can try taking pain relief medications, such as paracetamol and ibuprofen, which are safe to take alongside sumatriptan.  

Get 10% Off Our Products!

  • Sign up for our newsletter
  • Get Your FREE Sleep Guide
  • Be the first to hear about sales and promotions
  • Stay up to date on our latest health news

By clicking “Download Now”, I agree to Ben's Natural Health Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.

5) Feeling hot or cold

Taking sumatriptan can influence how your body feels temperature, which can make you feel either colder or hotter than usual. 

If you’re affected in this way, take practical steps such as wearing extra layers if you’re feeling cold, or having a cool drink if you’re feeling hot, to help reduce the impact.

6) Tingling or prickling of skin 

Altered skin sensation can commonly occur as a side effect of sumatriptan. Often, this is experienced as tingling or prickling of the skin, but other sensations can sometimes be felt, too. 

This is not associated with any damage or change to the nerves connected to the skin and is therefore not associated with any long-term change to skin sensation. 

7) Facial flushing 

Feeling flushed in the face can cause the face to feel very warm and look more red than usual. 

The best way to reduce this is to keep cool, for example, by removing a layer of clothing or having a cold drink. 

8) Lack of energy/drowsiness

Taking sumatriptan can make you feel more tired, making home or work tasks more difficult to complete. 

If you are feeling low on energy, try to rest as much as possible to help your body re-energize. 

If you’re busy and are not able to rest, you could try having a cup of tea or coffee, with the caffeine boost from this helping to counteract the sleepiness from sumatriptan. 

Serious side effects of Imitrex

In rare cases, sumatriptan can cause serious side effects. If you develop any of the symptoms listed below, please get urgent medical attention.

Heart attack or arrhythmia

As mentioned above, a fairly common side effect of sumatriptan is pain or pressure in the chest, neck, or jaw, which normally settles on its own. 

However, in rare situations, sumatriptan can cause serious heart problems, such as a heart attack or arrhythmias. 

Symptoms include chest pain, rapid heart rate, shortness of breath, and excessive sweating. 


Taking sumatriptan can increase your risk of having a stroke. Signs of a stroke include weakness or loss of sensation in one part of the body, facial weakness or droop, difficulty speaking, and sudden vision change. 

Serotonin syndrome

Serotonin syndrome is a condition that occurs as a result of your body having too much serotonin, often due to a medication or combination of medications, sumatriptan included. 

Symptoms of serotonin syndrome include agitation, dilated pupils, rigid muscles, insomnia, excessive sweating, and confusion. 

The risk of serotonin syndrome is enhanced if you are taking multiple medications that can increase serotonin levels, so please ask your doctor to check your other medications before starting sumatriptan. 

Gastrointestinal problems

Sumatriptan can affect the blood supply to the small and large bowel. In serious cases, this can cause the cells in these organs to die due to lack of oxygen, which can lead to severe abdominal pain and bloody diarrhea

vitamins for energy

How long do Sumatriptan’s side effects last?

The half-life of sumatriptan (the time it takes for your body to remove half of the drug from your system) is between 1-4 hours. 

Typically, sumatriptan will be fully out of your system after around 10 hours, so side effects should not normally last longer than this. 

If you’re experiencing side effects that are lasting longer than this, please speak to your doctor. 

Are there any long-term side effects of Sumatriptan?

Generally, any side effects experienced from sumatriptan tend to be short-lived and do not cause any long-term issues. 

The exceptions to this are the rare but serious side effects listed above, which can cause long-term health issues, which is why it is important to get urgent medical attention if you are experiencing any of these.

What are the side effects of stopping Sumatriptan?

For most people who suffer infrequent migraines and therefore only take sumatriptan from time to time, there are generally no withdrawal symptoms. 

However, if sumatriptan is used often due to frequent headaches, suddenly stopping it can lead to withdrawal symptoms. 

Typical symptoms of this include a headache with associated nausea, vomiting, and sleep disturbance. 

It is important to only take sumatriptan in the dose and frequency as prescribed by your doctor. 


  • Sumatriptan, also called Imitrex, is an effective medication for relieving migraines.
  • While there is a long list of possible side effects associated with sumatriptan, the majority of people will experience either no or mild side effects.
  • Sumatriptan is associated with some rare but serious side effects. Should you start to experience any symptoms associated with these health problems, you should get urgent medical attention.
  • The list above is not an exhaustive list of possible side effects. If you develop any side effects not listed above after taking sumatriptan, please speak to your doctor or pharmacist.

Explore More

essential oils for headaches

5 Essential Oils For Headaches Or Migraines.


  1. Perry CM, Markham A. Sumatriptan. An updated review of its use in migraine. Drugs. 1998 Jun;55(6):889-922. doi: 10.2165/00003495-199855060-00020. PMID: 9617601.
  2. IMITREX (sumatriptan) tablets, for oral use. Initial U.S. Approval: 1992.
  3. Albieri V, Olsen TS, Andersen KK. Risk of Stroke in Migraineurs Using Triptans. Associations with Age, Sex, Stroke Severity and Subtype. EBioMedicine. 2016 Apr;6:199-205. doi: 10.1016/j.ebiom.2016.02.039. Epub 2016 Feb 27. PMID: 27211561; PMCID: PMC4856739.
  4. Brar Y, Hosseini SA, Saadabadi A. Sumatriptan. [Updated 2023 Nov 12]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2024 Jan-. 
  5. Katsarava Z, Fritsche G, Muessig M, Diener HC, Limmroth V. Clinical features of withdrawal headache following overuse of triptans and other headache drugs. Neurology. 2001 Nov 13;57(9):1694-8. doi: 10.1212/wnl.57.9.1694. PMID: 11706113.

Top Products

Total Health


Glucose Control