Frovatriptan is used to treat migraine headaches.
Take one tablet as soon as you start to feel a migraine headache develop. Do not take it before the headache begins (for example, during the 'aura phase'), as it may be less effective.
Your chest may feel tight or 'heavy' after taking frovatriptan. These sensations do not usually last long, but if they continue or become intense, do not take any more frovatriptan tablets, and let your doctor know as soon as possible.
Frovatriptan can make you feel sleepy. If this happens, do not drive or use tools or machines.
|Type of medicine||5HT1-receptor agonist (also known as a 'triptan')|
|Used for||Treatment of migraine|
It is not clear what causes migraine. It is thought that some chemicals in the brain increase in activity, and, as a result, parts of the brain then send out confused signals which result in the symptoms of migraine.
It is also not clear why people with migraine should develop these chemical changes. Many migraine attacks occur for no apparent reason, but in some people there may be things which trigger an attack, like certain foods or drinks.
Frovatriptan works by stimulating the receptors of a chemical in the brain, called serotonin (or 5HT). This eases the symptoms of a migraine.
Before taking frovatriptan
Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking frovatriptan it is important that your doctor or pharmacist knows:
- If you are aged over 65 years or under 18 years old.
- If you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
- If you have heart problems, angina, or if you have recently had a heart attack.
- If you have high blood pressure.
- If you have circulation problems.
- If you have problems with the way your liver works.
- If you have ever had a stroke or a transient ischaemic attack (also referred to as a TIA or 'mini-stroke').
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.
- If you are taking or using any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
How to take frovatriptan
- Before you start this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside your pack. The leaflet will give you more information about frovatriptan and a full list of side-effects which you may experience from taking it.
- Take frovatriptan exactly as your doctor tells you to. It is usual to take one tablet as soon as you start to feel a migraine headache develop. If your migraine at first improves but then comes back again, you may take another tablet, providing it is at least two hours after you took the first one. Do not take more than two tablets in 24 hours. If your migraine is not eased after taking one tablet, a further dose is unlikely to work and so do not take a second tablet.
- Swallow the tablets with a drink of water. You can take frovatriptan before or after meals.
- Frovatriptan is meant to be used during a migraine attack, not to stop one from coming on. There is some evidence that taking it too early in a migraine attack may make the treatment less effective. You should wait until you feel mild discomfort (usually, the beginning of the migraine headache) rather than taking it at the aura stage or when you feel that a migraine may be developing.
Getting the most from your treatment
- It may help to keep a migraine diary. Note down when and where each migraine attack started, what you were doing, and what you had eaten that day. A pattern may emerge, and it may be possible to avoid one or more things that trigger your migraine attacks.
- Frovatriptan is used to treat a migraine once it has started, but there are other medicines that are available that may help to prevent you from having migraines. If you have migraines frequently, discuss this with your doctor.
- Do not take other migraine treatments, such as other triptans or ergotamine, as well as frovatriptan. However, some people may benefit from taking a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory painkiller (such as naproxen) as well as frovatriptan. Your doctor will advise you about this if it is needed.
- If you find that frovatriptan does not relieve your migraine, make an appointment to discuss this with your doctor, as an alternative preparation may be more effective for you.
- If you buy any 'over-the-counter' medicines, check with your pharmacist which medicines are safe for you to take.
- Some people who get frequent migraine attacks are in fact getting medication-induced headache. Medication-induced headache (also called medication-overuse headache) is caused by taking painkillers or triptans too often. If you use frovatriptan or painkillers on more than two days per week on a regular basis, you may be at risk. You should talk to your doctor if you suspect this.
Can frovatriptan cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.
|Common frovatriptan side-effects - these affect less than 1 in 10 people who take this medicine||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Dry mouth||Try chewing sugar-free gum or sucking sugar-free sweets|
|Feeling sick, indigestion, abdominal pain||Stick to simple foods|
|Problems with eyesight, and feeling tired, dizzy, or sleepy||If this happens, do not drive or use tools or machines|
|Tingling sensations, feeling hot, flushing, sweating, headache, chest discomfort||If any of these become troublesome, speak with your doctor|
|Occasionally, some people feel intense tightness or pain in their chest within minutes of taking a tablet||If this happens, do not take any further tablets and speak with your doctor about it|
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
How to store frovatriptan
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital at once. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.
This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.
If you are having an operation or any dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking.
Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.
If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.
Further reading & references
- Manufacturer's PIL, Migard®; A. Menarini Farmaceutica Internazionale SRL, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated June 2009.
- British National Formulary; 64th Edition (Sep 2012) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London (links to current BNF)
|Original Author: Helen Allen||Current Version: Helen Allen||Peer Reviewer: Dr Adrian Bonsall|
|Last Checked: 03/01/2013||Document ID: 3865 Version: 24||© EMIS|
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.