Zolmitriptan belongs to a class of medications known as 5-hydroxytryptamine agonists (also called "triptans"). It is used to treat migraine headaches with or without aura (warning signs that occur prior to the onset of a migraine headache). The pain of migraine headaches is thought to be caused by dilated blood vessels inside the head. Zolmitriptan relieves migraine headaches by constricting these blood vessels.
Zolmitriptan is not recommended for other types of headache or for headache prevention. In most people, zolmitriptan eliminates or reduces the symptoms of migraines including headache, nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound.
This medication may be available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms or approved for all of the conditions discussed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here.
Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.
Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.
Each single-dose spray unit supplies 2.5 mg of zolmitriptan. Nonmedicinal ingredients: citric acid, disodium phosphate (dodecahydrate or dihydrate), and purified water.
Each single-dose spray unit supplies 5 mg of zolmitriptan. Nonmedicinal ingredients: citric acid, disodium phosphate (dodecahydrate or dihydrate), and purified water.
The usual adult dose is a single dose of 2.5 mg. If the migraine headache returns, the dose may be repeated after 2 hours. Your doctor may recommend a 5 mg dose if the 2.5 mg dose is not totally effective. You should not take a total dose of more than 10 mg in any 24-hour period. If a dose has not helped your headache at all, do not take a second dose without first consulting a doctor.
The nasal spray device is packaged in a carton and is a blue-coloured plastic device with a grey protection cap, labelled to indicate the normal dose. Do not remove the grey protection cap until you are ready to take the medication. Do not "prime" the nasal spray by pumping it because part of the dose could be lost. The nasal spray should be used in one nostril only.
Place the device in your nostril to spray a single dose. Be careful not to spray the contents of the device in your eyes. Discard the unit after you use it.
It is important to take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor.
Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.
Store this medication at room temperature, protect it from moisture, and keep it out of the reach of children.
Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.
Do not use zolmitriptan if you:
Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent.
The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.
The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.
Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.
Although most of the side effects listed below don’t happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not seek medical attention.
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:
Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.
Before you begin taking a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should take this medication.
Allergic reactions: Rare, severe allergic reactions to zolmitriptan may occur. Because of the possibility of allergic reaction, you should not use zolmitriptan if you are allergic to any of the other medications of this class (5-hydroxytryptamine agonists).
Blood pressure: Zolmitriptan may cause an increase in blood pressure. If you have severe or uncontrolled high blood pressure you should not take zolmitriptan.
Drowsiness/reduced alertness: You may feel drowsy as a result of taking zolmitriptan. Do not perform tasks requiring alertness (e.g., driving or operating machinery) if you experience drowsiness or dizziness.
Heart disease: This medication may cause narrowing of the blood vessels that supply the heart. This can lead to chest pain, heart attacks, and other heart problems. For this reason, you should not use zolmitriptan if you have heart or blood vessel disease. If you have certain risk factors for heart disease (e.g., high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, obesity, diabetes, family history of coronary artery disease, menopause, men over 40 years of age), tell your doctor.
Liver function: Liver disease or reduced liver function may cause this medication to build up in the body, causing side effects. If you have liver problems, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed. Your doctor may want to test your liver function regularly with blood tests while you are taking this medication. You may need a lower dose of zolmitriptan.
Seizures: There have been rare reports of seizures experienced by people taking this medication. If you have a history of epilepsy or other conditions that increase the risk for seizure your doctor should closely monitor you while taking this medication.
Serotonin Syndrome: Severe reactions are possible when zolmitriptan is combined with other medications that act on serotonin, such as tricyclic antidepressants and serotonin reuptake inhibitors – medications used to treat depression. These combinations must be avoided. Symptoms of a reaction may include muscle rigidity and spasms, difficulty moving, changes in mental state including delirium and agitation. Coma and death are possible.
If you are taking antidepressants, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.
Breast-feeding: It is not known if zolmitriptan passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking this medication, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.
Children and adolescents: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children or adolescents.
Seniors: The use of zolmitriptan by people over the age of 65 years is not recommended.
There may be an interaction between zolmitriptan and any of the following:
If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:
An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.
Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.
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