Brand names: Frova
Frova is used to relieve attacks of migraine headache. It's helpful whether or not the headache is preceded by an aura (visual disturbances such as seeing halos or flickering lights).
Experts think that migraines are caused by the expansion of blood vessels serving the brain, and that this expansion is triggered by a decline in the level of serotonin, one of the brain's chief chemical messengers. Frova works by restoring serotonin levels to normal. It belongs to a class of drugs called "serotonin agonists."
Frova can quell migraine attacks once they've begun, but it won't prevent them before they start. It should not be used for certain rare types of migraine called "hemiplegic migraine" or "basilar migraine," and it is not recommended for the "cluster headaches" that tend to affect older men.
One Frova tablet can be taken any time after the onset of a headache. If the headache goes away and comes back you can take a second tablet after 2 hours. A third tablet can be taken 2 hours or more after the last dose. Do not take more than 3 tablets in one day.
Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, inform your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking Frova
If you have heart disease, you must avoid Frova. You also cannot take Frovatriptan succinate if you have had a stroke, suffer mini-strokes, or have any other kind of circulation problem. Avoid it, too, if you have high blood pressure that is not under control.
Remember that Frova should not be used for "hemiplegic migraine" or "basilar migraine." Do not use it again if it causes an allergic reaction, and do not take it for 24 hours after using another serotonin agonist or an ergot-based migraine medication. Serotonin agonists include almotriptan, naratriptan, rizatriptan, sumatriptan, and zolmitriptan. Ergot medications include such drugs as ergotamine and methylsergide.
In people with heart disease, medications similar to Frova have been known to cause serious problems, including heart attacks and strokes. If you have heart disease, or know of any factors that make undetected heart disease a possibility, be sure to tell the doctor. Risk factors include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, excess weight, smoking, a history of heart disease in your family, and menopause in women or age over 40 in men.
If there's any chance of a heart problem, your doctor may administer the first dose of Frova in the office and monitor your response. After later doses, call your doctor immediately if you develop pain, tightness, heaviness, and pressure in your throat, chest, neck, or jaw.
Frova is not recommended for children under age 18.
Remember that Frova must never be combined with other serotonin-agonist or ergot-based migraine drugs. (See "Why should Frovatriptan succinate not be prescribed?")
If Frova is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Frova with the following:Antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs that boost serotonin levels, including fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, paroxetine, and sertralinePropranolol
Frova has not been studied in pregnant women. If you are pregnant or if you plan to become pregnant, inform your doctor right away so you can discuss your treatment options.
It is not known if Frova appears in breast milk. Caution is advised if you plan on nursing.
Take one 2.5 milligram tablet with a liquid at the onset of headache. If one dose does not work, do not take a second dose, as it is not likely to work either.
If the headache comes back later, a second tablet can be taken 2 hours or more after the first tablet. Do not take more than three 2.5 milligram tablets in one day.
Although little is known about the effects of an overdose of Frova, any medication taken in excess can have serious consequences. If you suspect an overdose, seek medical attention immediately.