Treximet (sumatriptan and naproxen sodium) for migraines : an introduction
Treximet for migraines is the only combination medicine available in the triptan class. Treximet combines sumatriptan, the active ingredient in Imitrex with the pain reliever naproxen sodium. Although Imitrex has a generic form, sold under the name sumatriptan and naproxen sodium is the generic name for the brand name prescription drug Naprosyn and the over-the-counter drug Aleve, there is no generic medication that combines the two pain relievers. Treximet came to market mid-2008.
How Treximet for migraines works
Because Treximet contains two drugs for fighting migraines, it boasts an additional weapon to relieve pain. First, like all other drugs in the triptan class, the sumatriptan portion of Treximet is believed to reduce swelling of the blood vessels around the brain and decrease other pain-causing substances in the brain. The naproxen sodium in the drug temporarily blocks the body’s production of the chemicals known as prostiglandins, which are known to contribute to inflammation. Inflammation, or swelling, as well as prostiglandins have a role in the head pain associated with migraine attacks. Naproxen sodium is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, an NSAID. The sodium salt of naproxen is a rapidly absorbed type of naproxen, to help relieve migraine symptoms faster.
Most migraine treatments are taken to ease migraine symptoms or temporarily offer complete relief. Below is a summary of Treximet’s ability to relieve, or in some cases, completely erase pain and other symptoms:
- Relief within two hours : 57% to 65%
- Pain completely gone in two hours : 30% to 34%
- Pain completely gone two to 24 hours : 23% to 25%
Forms of Treximet available to treat migraines
Treximet only comes in regular tablets that are swallowed.
Available form and price per dose
Treximet tablet: 85 mg of sumatriptan and 500 mg of naproxen sodium , $29
Source for prices: Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs 2010
Most common side effects of Treximet tablets
Because Treximet contains the NSAID naproxen sodium, it may cause the side effects seen in the triptan class along with the additional side effects associated with NSAIDs.
Serious side effects
Some people who take Treximet may experience serious side effects of chest pain, tightness or pressure. If you experience this side effect, which can feel like it is spreading to the throat, neck and jaw, or shortness of breath seek medical attention immediately. The heart-related side effects are thought to be because triptan drugs cause blood vessels to contract.
Drugs in the NSAID class can cause serious ulcers and bleeding in the stomach or intestines at any time. The risk of ulcers is increased:
- In people who also use corticosteroids and blood thinners
- With longer use
- With more frequent use
- In smokers
- In people who drink alcohol
- In older people
- In those with poor health
Stop Treximet immediately and seek medical attention right away if you have any of these symptoms:
- Nausea that seems out of proportion to your migraine attack
- Stomach pain
- Sudden and severe stomach pain
- Vomiting blood
- Blood in your stool or if your stool is black and sticky like tar
Who should not take Treximet for migraines
Because Treximet contains the triptan drug sumatriptan, the same triptan warnings and possible side effects apply. Therefore women who are pregnant, may become pregnant or who are breast feeding should not take Treximet. Also people with hemiplegic migraines or basilar migraines shouldn’t take Treximet. People 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 Treximet. 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 Treximet 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 two weeks should not take Treximet.
Also, because Treximet includes an NSAID if you must avoid that class of drugs, you must also avoid taking Treximet. Do not take Treximet if you ever suffered an asthma attack, hives or other allergic reaction to aspirin or any other NSAID or sumitriptan.
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.