Amerge (naratriptan) for migraines: an introduction
Amerge, naratriptan hydrochloride, came to the market in 1998.
Like other drugs in the triptan class, Amerge is approved for the acute treatment of migraines with aura and migraines without aura in adults. It is not a prophylactic, or migraine prevention treatment.
How Amerge for migraines works
Similar to the way other triptan medications for migraines work, Amerge is believed to reduce swelling of the blood vessels around the brain and decrease the presence of other pain causing substances in the brain. There are several different types of triptans available that operate in a similar fashion to give migraine sufferers options, because individuals respond differently to each medication.
Patients have differing levels of success with each drug. Some feel reasonably better quickly, while others find their migraine symptoms completely go way. Based on studies of Amerge, here’s a summary of how many patients reported that Amerge helped them:
- Quick relief within an hour : 25% to 30%
- Relief within two hours : 42% to 52%
- Pain completely gone in two hours : 18% to 21%
- Pain completely gone two to 24 hours : 17%
Forms of Amerge available to treat migraines
Amerge, available in two different doses, only comes in traditional tablets that are swallowed.
Available form and price per dose
- Amerge tablet 1 mg , $36
- Amerge tablet 2.5 mg, $43
Source for prices: Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs 2010
Most common side effects of Amerge tablets
- Vision changes
- Tingling feelings
- Upset stomach
- Sensation of warm or cold
Serious side effects
Some patients taking Amerge may experience serious side effects of chest pain, tightness, heaviness or pressure. If you experience this sensation, or if you feel the discomfort spreading to the throat, neck and jaw, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing or sudden, severe stomach pain or vision changes that won’t go away seek medical attention immediately. The heart-related side effects are thought to be because triptan drugs cause blood vessels to contract.
Who should not take Amerge for migraines
Amerge is not for every patient. Like other drugs in the triptan class, certain people should avoid Amerge such as women who are pregnant, may become pregnant or who are breast feeding. Also people with hemiplegic migraines or basilar migraines shouldn’t take Amerge. Because of the blood vessel constriction caused by Amerge and other triptans, patients with heart disease, uncontrolled high blood pressure, circulation problems including ischemic bowel disease, those with serious liver problems, those who have had previous strokes of any kind and smokers should not take Amerge. Also patients with coronary artery disease or risk factors, such as obesity, diabetes or a strong family history of heart disease, should not be prescribed Amerge for migraines without a cardiovascular evaluation. This drug should not be used within 24 hours of taking another drug in the triptan class or taking an ergotamine-containing or ergot-type medications. Patients who have taken a MAO-A inhibitor, which is prescribed for depression, within the past two weeks should not take Amerge.
As always, the best source for advice on treating your migraines is your own migraine specialist. These medication descriptions are provided only for informational purposes. You should begin no medication regimen without first checking with your physician. Again, this information should in no way substitute or be mistaken for medical advice.