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Safety profile of the triptans.

Author(s): Tepper SJ, Millson D

Affiliation(s): The New England Center for Headache, 778 Long Ridge Rd, Stamford, CT 06902, USA. sjtepper@aol.com

Publication date & source: 2003-03, Expert Opin Drug Saf., 2(2):123-32.

Publication type: Review

The triptans are 5-HT(1B/1D) agonists used as migraine and cluster-specific agents. Seven are in commercial use worldwide; in order of release these are sumatriptan, zolmitriptan, rizatriptan, naratriptan, almotriptan, frovatriptan and eletriptan. Sumatriptan has been in clinical use since 1991, and although postmarketing studies have stimulated much debate of triptan strengths and weaknesses, their overall safety profile appears excellent. The most serious adverse events are cardiovascular, due to coronary artery narrowing as a consequence of coronary artery 5-HT(1B) receptor activity. Triptans are contraindicated in patients with vascular disease. Other events are even more rare, and include the potential for drug-drug interactions, based on metabolic elimination pathways. Serotonin syndrome has been a concern, but one large prospective study failed to document a single case, and reports are sporadic and not clearly causative.

Page last updated: 2006-01-31

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