Naratriptan is a drug from the triptans group of drugs. Due to a special mechanism of action on the 5 HT receptor, triptans are among the well-tolerated and effective drugs against migraines.


Naratriptan is mainly used in the treatment of migraines. A migraine that is accompanied by an aura can be treated just as well as the non-aura-related migraine.

As aura one usually denotes neurological side effects or harbingers that can initiate a migraine attack. Often times, patients suffer just before a migraine attack Visual disturbanceswhich are noticeable by small, rapidly rotating lightning bolts. The visual disturbances occur a short time before a migraine attack and disappear as soon as the headache typical of migraines begins.

Another area of ​​application of naratriptan is the so-called Cluster headache, a rare but very severe headache drawn into the eye, most of the time at night occurs. He is often with Nose is running or Tears in the eyes socialized.


After ingestion, triptans attach themselves to special receptors that are distributed throughout the body. After they have docked on the receptors, which are also known as 5 HT receptors, they stimulate them. After stimulation, the receptors lead to the release of the messenger substance serotonin, which is responsible for many metabolic processes such as the mediation of pain and mood. In the gastrointestinal tract, the receptors take on important tasks in digestion; in the central nervous system, the receptors are responsible for the psyche and neurological processes.

There are three different mechanisms of action via binding to the 5HT receptor and via stimulation. First of all, the blood vessels in the meninges that are enlarged during a migraine attack narrow, which leads to rapid pain reduction. Furthermore, a decrease in inflammation mediators leads to a weakening of the inflammatory reaction. The third mode of action is the transmission of pain stimuli, which is also reduced by naratriptan.

After taking naratriptan, symptoms can be expected to improve after about an hour. Naratriptan should not be taken preventively, but only when the first signs of a migraine headache appear. One hour after ingestion, there should be a significant improvement in the migraine, the highest plasma level of the drug and thus the greatest effect is usually reached after 2-3 hours. After that, there is a systematic drainage of the drug. Most often the drug lasts up to 8 hours.

At best, the headache is gone completely. If they are not, another tablet can be taken. To avoid overdosing, you should first wait for the drug to work completely and only then take another tablet. The duration of action varies individually for everyone and can sometimes be longer and sometimes shorter.

Further information on the subject can be found here: Triptans

Side effects

Like any medication, naratriptan has its own risks and side effects that should be considered before taking it. In general, naratriptan is used though well tolerated.

Possible side effects include slight nausea and malaise. Since naratriptan works by constricting blood vessels, it can happen that constrictions also occur in other blood vessels. In the heart this would lead to pressure-like complaints, also called Angina pectoris complaints are designated. It can also lead to shortness of breath and anxiety. For this reason, the drug should not be taken if the patient has severe heart disease.

It can continue to Increase in blood pressure and Facial flush come. Since these types of side effects, determined in studies, did not occur more frequently than with placebo preparations, naratriptan was classified as having few side effects.


It is also important to note some interactions with other drugs.
It should not be taken at the same time as ergotamine. The same applies to the combined intake of naratriptan and the so-called MAO inhibitors, which today are only rarely prescribed for severe depression that cannot be treated differently.
Serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are used much more frequently in depression, and their combination with naratriptan is also viewed as questionable. The reason is that the combined intake can lead to a dangerous increase in serotonin in the body. This can lead to the so-called serotonin syndrome, which is a sometimes life-threatening condition. The serotonin syndrome manifests itself through nausea, sweating, palpitations, deterioration in general condition and cardiac arrhythmias. Immediate medical treatment is urgently indicated.

Use for migraines

Naratriptan is mostly used for migraines. The typical one Migraine headache sometimes occurs suddenly, sometimes with harbingers. It usually shines behind one eye and is throbbing and very painful in character. Often the migraine headache is also accompanied by nausea or Vomit, General condition deterioration and weakness. Quite often, patients with a migraine headache also have one strong sensitivity to light. In this case, staying in a dark room or sleeping often helps.

A migraine attack usually lasts a day without medication, but in some cases it can last several days. In patients who are severely affected by migraines, a migraine attack can sometimes last up to a week. However, preventive drug treatment (usually with a beta blocker) should also be considered here.

Read more about the topic here: Migraine Therapy


Naratriptan is taken as a tablet at a dose of 2.5 mg. The tablet can be taken with or without food. First, the treatment is started with 1x 2.5 mg. If there is no improvement in the symptoms, a second film-coated tablet can be taken 4 hours after the first. The maximum dose of 2x 2.5 mg in 24 hours must not be exceeded. Patients with severe hepatic or renal insufficiency should never take more than one tablet in a 24 hour period.

Can I get naratriptan without a prescription?

Naratriptan is the first drug from the group of triptans that without prescription can be obtained from the pharmacy. The main reason is that it has been found that the possible side effects described do not occur statistically more frequently with the drug than with a placebo preparation.

Nevertheless, naratriptan should only be taken after careful consideration and consideration should be given to consulting a doctor before taking it. The doctor should assess whether the headache is also a migraine headache. Because only mirage and cluster headaches can be treated with naratriptan. Treatment of a tension headache e.g. is unsuccessful.

Price: Naratriptan requires a pharmacy, but does not require a prescription. There are two tablets in one pack. Depending on the manufacturer, the pack price is EUR 2.95 to EUR 5.57.

Naratriptan in contrast to almotriptan

Both drugs are dispensed in pharmacies without a prescription and are used to treat migraines and cluster headaches. The effect of Almotriptan usually starts a little earlier than naratriptan. The effects and side effects of both drugs are similar.