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Zolmitriptan (triptan, anti-migraine agent)

Written by Stephanie Nera, RPh, PharmD · Pharmacology

Updated Jun 30, 2021

Zolmitriptan is a drug that treats migraines. It is chemically-related to sumatriptan, which is a first-generation 5-HT (serotonin) inhibitor.



What is zolmitriptan used for?

  • Acute migraine attacks

How should I take zolmitriptan?

Read the directions on the packaging for complete information. Check the label and expiration date.

For oral tablets, swallow it whole without chewing, crushing, or dissolving it in liquid. It can be divided with a pill cutter, if necessary. Take it with or without meals.

For nasal sprays, place the nozzle into your nostril and pull down the actuator to administer the spray. Do this at the first onset of symptoms or when you feel an attack coming (e.g. aura).

How do I store zolmitriptan?

This product is best stored at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store it in the bathroom or the freezer. 

There may be different brands of this drug that may have different storage needs. So, it is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.

You should not flush this product down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Additionally, it is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.

Precautions & warnings

What should I know before using zolmitriptan?

Before using this drug, tell your doctor if you are/have:

  • Pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Taking any other medicines. This includes any prescription, OTC, and herbal remedies.
  • An allergy to any of the ingredients of this product.
  • Any other illnesses, disorders, or medical conditions.

Is it safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding?

Unfortunately, there isn’t enough information about the safety of using this drug during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking any medication.

This medication is pregnancy risk category C according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

FDA pregnancy risk category reference below:

  • A=No risk
  • B=No risk in some studies
  • C=There may be some risk
  • D=Positive evidence of risk
  • X=Contraindicated
  • N=Unknown

Side effects

What side effects can occur from zolmitriptan?

Like all drugs, this product may have side effects. If they occur, side effects are generally mild and resolve once treatment is finished or the dose is lowered. Some reported side effects include:

  • Dizziness
  • Asthenia
  • Dry mouth
  • Paresthesia, hyperesthesia
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Pain
  • Tingling sensation
  • Heaviness
  • Transient hypertension
  • Hypotension
  • Hypersensitivity reactions
  • Ischemic coronary artery disease
  • Coronary vasospasm

However, not everyone experiences these side effects. In addition, some people may experience other side effects. So, if you have any concerns about a side effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.


What drugs may interact with zolmitriptan?

This medication may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. 

To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. 

Drugs with known interactions:

  • Ergot derivatives
  • SSRIs
  • MAOIs
  • Cimetidine
  • Quinolones
  • Sumatriptan

If you experience an adverse drug interaction, inform your doctor immediately to reevaluate your treatment plan. Approaches include dose adjustment, drug substitution, or ending therapy.

Does food or alcohol interact with zolmitriptan?

This drug may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Avoid drinking alcohol while taking this drug. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.

What health conditions may interact with zolmitriptan?

This drug may interact with underlying conditions. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. Therefore, it is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have.


The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. Therefore, you should always consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using any medication.

What is the dose for an adult?

Acute migraine attacks


  • Initial dose: 2.5 mg; may repeat 2 hours after if the migraine symptoms recur within 24 hours.
  • Maximum single dose: 10 mg per day


  • Initial dose: 5 mg (1 spray) into one nostril as soon as you experience the onset of symptoms. Repeat after 2 hours if migraine symptoms recur within 24 hours.
  • Maximum dose: 10 mg per day

What is the dose for a child?

There is no established pediatric dose. It may be unsafe for your child. It is always important to fully understand the safety of the drug before using. Please consult with your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

How is zolmitriptan available?

Zolmitriptan is available in the following dosage forms:

  • Tablet: 2.5 mg, 5 mg
  • Nasal Spray: 2.5 mg, 5 mg

What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?

In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to the nearest emergency room.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Written by

Stephanie Nera, RPh, PharmD


Updated Jun 30, 2021

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