How does this medication work? What will it do for me?

Frovatriptan belongs to a group of medications known as 5-hydroxytryptamine agonists (also called triptans). It is used to treat migraine headaches with or without aura (warning signs that occur prior to the onset of a migraine) in adults. The pain of migraine headaches is thought to be caused by dilated blood vessels inside the head. Frovatriptan relieves migraine headaches by constricting these blood vessels.

Frovatriptan is not recommended for other types of headache or for headache prevention.

This medication may be available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms or approved for all of the conditions discussed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here.

Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.

Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.

What form(s) does this medication come in?

2.5 mg
Each round, white, film-coated tablet, debossed with "2.5" on one side and "E" on the other side, contains 2.5 mg of frovatriptan (base) as the succinate. Nonmedicinal ingredients: colloidal silicon dioxide NF, hydroxypropylmethylcellulose USP, lactose NF, magnesium stearate NF, microcrystalline cellulose NF, polyethylene glycol 3000 USP, sodium starch glycollate NF, triacetin USP, titanium dioxide USP, and triacetin USP.

How should I use this medication?

The recommended adult dose of frovatriptan is 2.5 mg taken by mouth with fluids for migraine headache with or without aura. If the headache goes away with the first dose but then returns, a second dose of 2.5 mg may be taken between 4 and 24 hours after the first. You should never take more than 2 tablets in a 24-hour period.

Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.

It is important to take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor.

Store this medication at room temperature, protect it from light and moisture, and keep it out of the reach of children.

Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.

Who should NOT take this medication?

Do not take frovatriptan if you:

  • are allergic to frovatriptan or any of the ingredients of the medication
  • do not have a clear diagnosis of migraine
  • have angina (chest pain), including Prinzmetal's angina (coronary vasospasm)
  • have blood vessel disease (e.g., ischemic bowel disease, Raynaud's syndrome, stroke, transient ischemic attacks (TIAs))
  • have certain types of migraine headaches (including hemiplegic, basilar, or ophthalmoplegic migraine)
  • have had a heart attack
  • have heart disease (e.g., heart valve disease, ischemic heart disease, abnormal heart rhythms, congenital heart disease)
  • have high blood pressure that is severe or not under control
  • have severely reduced liver function
  • have taken another 5-hydroxytryptamine agonist (i.e., naratriptan, rizatriptan, zolmitriptan) in the previous 24 hours
  • have taken ergotamine-containing or ergot-type medications (such as dihydroergotamine, ergotamine, or methysergide) in the previous 24 hours

What side effects are possible with this medication?

Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent. The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.

The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.

Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.

  • dizziness
  • dry mouth
  • fatigue
  • feelings of burning coldness, heat, tingling, or numbness in any part of the body
  • headache (other than migraine)
  • flushing
  • muscle or joint pain
  • impaired touch sensation
  • indigestion

Although most of the side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not check with your doctor or seek medical attention.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

  • skin rash or itching,
  • slow, fast, or pounding heartbeat
  • vision changes (usually temporary)
  • increased blood pressure

Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:

  • heart attack (symptoms include pain, pressure, tightness, or heaviness in the chest, jaw, neck or shoulder, sweating, or shortness of breath)
  • irregular heartbeat
  • severe allergic reaction (symptoms include swelling of the face or throat, hives, difficulty breathing)
  • stroke (symptoms include sudden numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the body; sudden confusion or problems with speech; sudden vision problems in one or both eyes; sudden dizziness or loss of coordination; sudden severe headache, especially if it seems different from your usual headaches)

Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.

Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?

Before you begin taking a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should take this medication.

Allergy: People allergic to other medications in this class (5-hydroxytryptamine agonists such as rizatriptan and naratriptan) can also have an allergic reaction to frovatriptan. If you are allergic to any of these medications, you should not take frovatriptan unless advised to do so by your doctor.

Blood pressure: Frovatriptan may cause an increase in blood pressure. People with severe or uncontrolled high blood pressure should not take frovatriptan.

Drowsiness/reduced alertness: Drowsiness may occur as a result of taking this medication. Do not undertake potentially hazardous activities (e.g., driving or operating machinery) until you have determined that this medication does not make you drowsy.

Heart disease and stroke: This medication may cause narrowing of the blood vessels that supply the heart. This can lead to chest pain, heart attacks, arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat), and other heart problems. There have also been reports of bleeding in the brain and stroke with this medication. For this reason, frovatriptan should not be used by people with heart or blood vessel disease. If you have certain risk factors for heart disease (e.g., high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, obesity, diabetes, family history of coronary artery disease, menopause, men over 40 years of age), tell your doctor.

Liver function: Frovatriptan is not recommended for use by people with severely reduced liver function.

Seizures: People with a history of epilepsy or other conditions that increase their risk for seizure should be closely monitored by their doctor while they are taking this medication.

Serotonin syndrome: This medication may cause a rare but potentially life-threatening condition called serotonin syndrome, especially when used with other medications that increase serotonin levels (e.g., sumatriptan, rizatriptan, St. John's wort, sibutramine, venlafaxine). If you experience symptoms such as agitation, confusion, hallucinations, fast heart rate, fever, lack of coordination, increased body temperature, overactive reflexes, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, get immediate medical attention.

Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.

Breast-feeding: It is not known if frovatriptan passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking this medication, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.

Children: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children under 18 years of age.

Seniors: There is limited experience with the use of frovatriptan by people over 65 years of age. Its use by seniors is not recommended.

What other drugs could interact with this medication?

There may be an interaction between frovatriptan and any of the following:

  • ergot-containing medications (e.g., dihydroergotamine, ergotamine, or methysergide) if taken at the same time or within the previous 24 hours
  • other 5-hydroxytryptamine agonists (e.g., rizatriptan, naratriptan, zolmitriptan) if taken at the same time or within the previous 24 hours
  • sibutramine
  • SSRI-type antidepressants (e.g., paroxetine, fluoxetine, sertraline, fluvoxamine)
  • St. John's wort
  • venlafaxine

If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:

  • stop taking one of the medications,
  • change one of the medications to another,
  • change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
  • leave everything as is.

An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.

Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.