Zomig (zolmitriptan) for migraines: an introduction

Zomig, which launched at the end of 1997, is a prescription drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the acute treatment of migraine with aura or migraine without aura in adults. It is not approved to prevent migraines or for treatment of hemiplegic migraines or basilar migraines. The drug’s chemical name is zolmitriptan and it is not sold as a generic. The quick dissolving tablets, Zomig ZMT, hit the market in 2001while the nasal spray became available in 2003.

How Zomig works

As with many migraine treatments, doctors and researchers are not completely certain how Zomig relieves migraine symptoms. It is believed to reduce swelling in blood vessels that surround the brain. It also works to block the release of substances from nerves that might be responsible for pain as well as other migraine symptoms such as nausea and sensitivity to light and sensitivity to sound.

Zomig effectiveness

Every medication works differently in different patients. In some migraine sufferers Zomig works quickly to provide relief, within an hour. Other patients may feel better after the medicine has had a longer time to work. Some patients had reduced symptoms while others reported Zomig made migraine symptoms completely disappear. Based on Zomig studies, here’s a summary of how many patients found relief from migraine symptoms with Zomig’s highest dose of 5 mg:

  • Quick relief within an hour : 34% to 45%
  • Relief within two hours : 59% to 72%
  • Pain completely gone in two hours : 29% to 36%
  • Pain completely gone two to 24 hours : 22%

Forms of Zomig available to treat migraines

Zomig comes in regular tablets for swallowing, dissolving tablets under the name Zomig ZMT and a nasal spray.

Zomig and some other migraine treatments are available in different forms to offer options beyond tablets to make it easier for those who suffer from nausea and vomiting to ingest the mediations.

Available forms and price per dose

  • Zomig tablet 2.5 mg , $37
  • Zomig tablet 5 mg , $38
  • Zomig ZMT 2.5 mg , $34
  • Zomig ZMT 5 mg , $39
  • Zomig nasal spray 5 mg , $53

Source for prices: Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs 2010

Most common side effects of Zomig tablets

  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Tingling
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea

Most common side effects of Zomig nasal spray

  • Unusual taste
  • Dry mouth
  • Tingling sensation
  • Skin sensitivity, particularly around the nose
  • Drowsiness
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea

Serious side effects

Some people may experience serious side effects when they take Zomig. Serious side effects include chest pain, tightness or pressure. If you experience this side effect, which can feel like it is spreading to the neck and jaw, seek medical attention immediately. There have also been very rare reports of temporary or permanent vision loss or blindness. Both the heart-related and sight-related side effects are thought to be because drugs in this class cause blood vessels to contract.

Who should not take Zomig

Women who are pregnant or may become pregnant should not take Zomig. Also people with hemiplegic or basilar migraine shouldn’t take Zomig. People with heart disease, uncontrolled high blood pressure, circulation problems and those who have had previous strokes should not take Zomig. 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 Zomig.

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.