Naratriptan is a generic medication prescribed to treat migraine headaches and reduce symptoms like pain, nausea, and vomiting, as well as sensitivity to light and sound. This medication is a triptan, which helps block pain impulses in the brain. Naratriptan cannot be used to help prevent future migraines, but rather to treat migraines already in progress. Patients who experience migraines that are different than usual should check with their doctors before taking the medicine.
This drug is available as a tablet taken by mouth with plenty of water. Only one tablet should be used at the onset of a migraine attack. Those who experience only partial relief of symptoms may take a second tablet no sooner than four hours after the first. Two tablets, or 5 milligrams (mg) is the maximum dose that may be taken in any 24-hour time period. Those whose symptoms are not relieved at all with the first dose should contact their doctors, rather than attempt a second dose.
Some side effects may occur with the use of naratriptan for migraine relief. Patients may experience drowsiness or dizziness. Certain sensations may be noticed, such as numbness or tingling, as well as feelings of heat or prickling. General weakness and flushing have also been reported with naratriptan, as well as an upset stomach.
More serious side effects require a doctor's immediate care. These can include hearing changes, mood changes, and excessive coldness of the hands or feet. Rarely, seizures may occur, or the patient may notice their fingernails or toenails turn bluish. Tightness of the chest, jaw, or neck may sometimes indicate a serious complication. Other serious side effects can include bloody diarrhea, slurred speech, and a rapid heartbeat, along with vision changes, weakness on one side of the body, and fainting.
Rarely, a complication called serotonin syndrome may occur with the use of naratriptan, especially if patients take other triptan medicines like antidepressants or anti-obesity pills. This condition requires emergency medical help. Patients with serotonin syndrome may notice twitchy muscles, loss of coordination, and unusual restlessness. Hallucinations, a high fever, and severe dizziness, along with severe nausea or vomiting may also occur.
Before taking naratriptan for migraines, patients must disclose their other medical conditions, medications, and supplements. As of 2011, it is unknown whether the drug may pass into breast milk, and women who are pregnant should discuss the risks with their doctors. Those who have risk factors for heart disease may need to take their first dose in the presence of their doctor, because rarely a heart attack may occur. It may be contraindicated for use by those who have uncontrolled high blood pressure, seizures, or blood circulation disorders. Naratriptan may interact with other drugs, including antidepressants, ergotamine medication, or theophylline.