Can You Take Tylenol and Sumatriptan Together?

In our latest question and answer, the pharmacist discusses whether or not sumatriptan can be taken with Tylenol.

Question

I took 2 extra strength Tylenol an hour ago and my headache is still there, is it ok to take sumatriptan?

Asked by Dstar On Sep 02, 2021

Answered by
Medical Content Reviewed By HelloPharmacist Staff

On Sep 02, 2021

Key points

  • There is no known interaction between Tylenol (acetaminophen) and sumatriptan. They are considered safe to take together.
  • Simple over-the-counter analgesics, like Tylenol and NSAIDs (e.g. ibuprofen, naproxen), are a recommended first-line treatment option for migraines that are mild to moderate in severity.
  • Studies show that the combination of a simple analgesic with a 'Triptan', like sumatriptan, is generally more effective in relieving symptoms than either drug alone.

Hello and thank you for your question!

We always appreciate people reaching out about drug interaction questions. It is important to be safe!

Tylenol For Migraines

Tylenol (acetaminophen), along with other over-the-counter analgesics, like NSAIDs (e.g. naproxen and ibuprofen), are a recommended 'first-line treatment for mild to moderate migraine attacks.

Studies show that both are effective, but NSAIDs are generally moreso. They do, however, come with the risk of more side effects, like stomach irritation.

The guidelines for the treatment of acute migraine headaches states the following:

Strong evidence supports the use of acetaminophen and oral NSAIDs such as aspirin, diclofenac, ibuprofen, and naproxen as first-line treatments for mild to moderate migraine attacks. In placebo-controlled trials, acetaminophen was less effective than NSAIDs but did not cause gastric irritation or antiplatelet effects
Am Fam Physician. 2018 Feb 15;97(4):243-251.

Many studies show that the most effective dose of Tylenol for the treatment of migraines is 1,000mg (two 'Extra Strength' Tylenol tablets) at the onset of a migraine attack.

Tylenol With Sumatriptan

Tylenol is safe to take with sumatriptan, the generic for Imitrex. There is no known interaction between the two.

If you have taken Tylenol and it is ineffective in treating your symptoms, you can certainly take sumatriptan right after, with no problems. You could even take them together.

In fact, most guidelines report that taking a simple analgesic, like Tylenol or an NSAID, with a Triptan medication, like sumatriptan, is more effective in treating migraines than other alone.

This is why there are drugs on the market that contain a combination of an NSAID and a Triptan, like Treximet (naproxen; sumatriptan). One study that evaluated the naproxen and sumatriptan combo concluded the following:

Sumatriptan, 85 mg, plus naproxen sodium, 500 mg, as a single tablet for acute treatment of migraine resulted in more favorable clinical benefits compared with either monotherapy, with an acceptable and well-tolerated adverse effect profile.
JAMA. 2007;297(13):1443.

Final Words

I wish you luck in finding an effective treatment for your migraines!

If you are finding that over-the-counter analgesics aren't working, and Triptans aren't eliminating your symptoms either, there are several other options to talk to your doctor about. These treatments include Botox, nerve blocks, and other classes of medication, such as CGRP antagonists (e.g. Emgality, Aimovig, Nurtec, etc...).

Thank you again for your question.

References

  • Acute Migraine Headache: Treatment Strategies, PubMed
  • Paracetamol (acetaminophen) with or without an antiemetic for acute migraine headaches in adults, PubMed
  • Sumatriptan-naproxen for acute treatment of migraine: a randomized trial, PubMed

About the Pharmacist

Dr. Brian Staiger, PharmD

Dr. Brian has been practicing pharmacy for over 11 years and has wide-ranging experiences in many different areas of the profession. From retail, clinical and administrative responsibilities, he's your knowledgeable and go-to source for all your pharmacy and medication related questions!

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