Guidelines for when to recommend sumatriptan
Sumatriptan is a pharmacy only medicine and can be supplied over the counter by a Medicines Counter Assistant. The guidelines below should be used when supplying sumatriptan.
You may supply sumatriptan if you have established that:
- The patient has been diagnosed as suffering from migraine.
- They have failed to obtain relief from OTC painkillers.
- Established pattern of migraine (five of more attacks in 12 months).
Sumatriptan should not be supplied to customers/patients who are:
- under 18 or over 65 years of age.
- pregnant or breastfeeding (refer to doctor).
- diagnosed with heart problems or with a family history of heart problems.
- in danger of or recovering from a stroke.
- being treated for any of the following:
- high blood pressure.
- kidney, peripheral vascular or liver disease.
- epilepsy or who are prone to fits.
- Women taking combined oral contraceptives (refer to GP).
- Frequent or severe headaches that come on suddenly.
- Anyone complaining of the following symptoms: unilateral muscle weakness, double vision, tinnitus, clumsy and uncoordinated movement and reduced level of consciousness, weakness of muscles controlling eye movement, along with a headache lasting a week or more.
- A headache following an accident, in particular a head or neck injury.
- Anyone experiencing blackouts.
- Headaches brought on with every cough, sneeze, bend or by standing up.
- Weakness, numbness or slurred speech.
- Anyone with a headache lasting longer than 24 hours.
- Additional features such as seizure-like movements, a rash or a headache confined to the back of the head.
- Headaches that frequently wake someone from sleep.
- Anyone whose migraine attack occurs for the first time after 50 years of age.
- Anyone diagnosed with high blood pressure.
- Recent marked deterioration in migraine (duration, severity or frequency).
- Women with migraine using the combined oral contraceptive pill.