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  • Painkiller to effectively treat migraines
  • Narrows blood vessels in the brain
  • Prompt treatment prevents disruption to your day
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Zolmitriptan is taken when the symptoms of a migraine start, such as the headache or aura. It can make you feel sleepy, so you must not drive or operate heavy machinery if this occurs. Zolmitriptan is sometimes known by its brand name Zomig.

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Read up

    • Zolmitriptan is a medication that is taken to treat a migraine as soon as the symptoms begin, such as a severe headache or an aura
    • Zolmitriptan does not stop a migraine from occurring in the first place
    • Zolmitriptan is sometimes known by its brand name Zomig
    • Zolmitriptan is part of the triptan medication family. Triptans are commonly used to treat migraines
    • Zolmitriptan can make you feel sleepy, so you must not drive or use heavy machinery if this occurs
    • It is important to read the patient leaflet for a full list of side effects and cautions.

    Migraines are not fully understood, but scientists believe that a change in chemicals within the brain may be responsible. When the chemical levels change, the brain sends out confused signals which lead to a severe headache, as well as nausea or vomiting (feeling sick or being sick). Many people find that their migraines have triggers such as eating a certain food, feeling stressed, or not getting enough sleep.

    Zolmitriptan is a serotonin 5HT1 receptor agonist. This is a form of triptan. Triptans work in the brain to increase serotonin, a naturally produced substance. Serotonin helps to minimise pain and reduce nausea and vomiting.

    Zolmitriptan works best if it is taken as soon as you notice the symptoms of a migraine. This might be at the first sign of pain, or if you develop an aura prior to the pain starting.

    Zolmitriptan is a medication that is only taken when a migraine occurs. It is not a preventative medication and will not stop migraines from occurring.

    Zolmitriptan is available as a tablet that should be swallowed with some water. It is also available as an orodispersible tablet that dissolves in the mouth. 

    Both types of zolmitriptan can be taken regardless of whether or not you have eaten recently.

    2.5mg of zolmitriptan is taken at the first sign of a migraine. If zolmitriptan is going to work for you, you will notice partial or full relief from the symptoms of migraine within one hour. If you still have some symptoms of a migraine after two hours, a further 2.5mg dose of zolmitriptan can be taken.

    If the 2.5mg doses are not enough, some people will later be prescribed 5mg doses by their healthcare professional for subsequent migraines.

    No more than 10mg of zolmitriptan should be taken within a 24 hour period.

    Like all medications, zolmitriptan can have some side effects. The most common side effects include:

    • Nausea or vomiting (feeling sick or being sick)
    • Stomach ache
    • Feeling dizzy
    • Feeling tired or sleepy – you must not drive or operate heavy machinery if this occurs
    • Tingling sensations
    • Palpitations or feeling your heartbeat in your chest

    Some people experience a heavy tightness in their chest or throat after taking zolmitriptan. This will usually settle, but if it is severe or persists you should stop taking zolmitriptan and speak to your doctor for further advice.

    If you have a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) including breathlessness, lip or tongue swelling, call 999 immediately.

    Zolmitriptan may not be suitable for everyone. You should tell your doctor if you:

    • Are aged over 65 or under 18 years old
    • Have a heart condition including angina, an irregular heartbeat, or if you have ever had a heart attack
    • Have high blood pressure
    • Have liver disease
    • Have ever had a stroke or mini-stroke (a transient ischaemic attack or TIA)
    • Have ever had an allergic reaction to zolmitriptan, another triptan, or any other medication
    • Are pregnant, trying to conceive, or breastfeeding.

    Some medications can interact with zolmitriptan. You may be advised that zolmitriptan will not suit you if you already take:

    • Ergotamine (another medication taken for migraines)
    • Certain antibiotics including ciprofloxacin
    • Cimetidine (medication for heartburn or stomach ulcers)
    • Certain antidepressants including fluoxetine and sertraline
    • St John’s Wort (a common herbal remedy used for low mood).

    Because zolmitriptan may not suit everyone, we will complete a Consultation with you including a health questionnaire. This will ensure that the medication will be suitable for you.

    A qualified prescriber will review your current medications, including any herbal remedies or supplements, to ensure that zolmitriptan will not interact with them. 

    Once prescribed, zolmitriptan will be ordered on your behalf via electronic prescription, allowing you to pick the medication up at your convenience.

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