Zolmitriptan is avaialble as a tablet or an orodispersible tablet, in case you find it difficult to swallow or drink whilst experiencing a migraine. Zolmitriptan is also available under the brand name Zomig as a nasal spray. Zolmitriptanvis a type of medicine called a serotonin (or 5HT) agonist. This type of medicine is also commonly known as a 'triptan'. It is a painkiller specifically used to relieve migraine attacks.
Although the cause of migraine attacks is not fully understood, it is thought that widening of blood vessels in the brain causes the throbbing pain of migraine headaches. Zolmitriptan relieves this pain by causing the blood vessels in the brain to narrow.
Zolmitriptan works by stimulating receptors called serotonin (or 5HT) receptors that are found in the brain. A natural substance called serotonin normally acts on these receptors, causing blood vessels in the brain to narrow. Zolmitriptan mimics this action of serotonin by directly stimulating the serotonin receptors in the brain. This narrows the blood vessels and so relieves the pain of migraine headaches.
The dose of zolmitriptan should be taken as early as possible after the migraine headache has started, though it is also effective if taken at a later stage during the migraine attack.
Take one Zolmitriptan tablet be taken by mouth and swallowed whole with liquid. Or, take one Zolmitriptan orodispersible tablet, which may be placed on the toungue and taken without liquid.
If your migraine at first improves but then comes back again, you may take another tablet, providing it is at least two hours after you took the first one. If your migraine is not eased after taking the first dose, a further dose is unlikely to work, so do not take a second dose.
Do not take more than two doses within a 24-hour period.
Medicines and their possible side effects can affect individual people in different ways. Just because a side effect is stated here does not mean that all people using this medicine will experience that or any side effect. The following are some of the side effects that are known to be associated with zolmitriptan :
- Taste disturbance.
- Discomfort in the nasal cavity.
- Sensation of tightness, pressure, tingling, heaviness, heat or pain in any part of the body, including the chest and throat (see warning above).
- Dry mouth.
- Muscle pain and weakness.
- Abnormal sensations or disturbance of sensation, eg pins and needles.
- Sleepiness (somnolence).
- Weakness or loss of strength (asthenia).
- Increased heart rate (tachycardia).
- Awareness of your heart beat (palpitations).
- Swelling of the face, lips or tongue (angioedema).
- Increases in blood pressure.
The side effects listed above may not include all of the side effects reported by the drug's manufacturer. For more information about any other possible risks associated with this medicine, please read the information provided with the medicine or consult your doctor or pharmacist.
zolmitriptan should be used with caution in:
- Decreased liver function.
- High blood pressure.
- People with risk factors for coronary heart disease, such as smoking, high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure (hypertension), diabetes, obesity, or a family history of heart disease.
zolmitriptan should NOT be used in:
- People who have had a heart attack.
- Heart disease caused by inadequate blood flow to the heart (ischaemic heart disease), e.g. angina.
- A severe form of angina pectoris, not caused by exertion (Prinzmetal's angina).
- Uncontrolled or moderate to severe high blood pressure (hypertension).
- People who have had a stroke.
- History of small temporary strokes (transient ischaemic attacks).
- A form of migraine associated with temporary paralysis of one side of the body (hemiplegic migraine).
- A type of migraine where there is a disturbance in brain function which initially presents with total blindness followed by dizziness, speech disturbances, ringing in the ears and double vision (basilar migraine).
- This medicine is not recommended for people aged under 18 or over 65 years, as there is no information available regarding its safety and effectiveness in these age groups.
This medicine should not be used if you are allergic to one or any of its ingredients. Please inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have previously experienced such an allergy. If you feel you have experienced an allergic reaction, stop using this medicine and inform your doctor or pharmacist immediately.
The patient information leaflet (PIL) is a leaflet containing specific information about medical conditions, doses and side effects. You can download a copy of the PIL here:
Patient Info Leaflet