With the precise causes of migraine headaches still unclear, doctors aren't entirely sure how sumatriptan, manufactured by Glaxo Inc., a pharmaceutical company near Raleigh, N.C., works. But they think it corrects an imbalance of a messenger chemical in the brain called serotonin.
When the equilibrium of serotonin in the brain is disturbed, a chain of events is triggered which causes migraine pain, according to Dr. Howard Weiss, a Baltimore neurologist in private practice who specializes in headaches.
Apparently, sumatriptan stimulates a specific type of serotonin receptor in the brain that is related to migraine. It thereby restores the normal equilibrium of the chemical and relieves pain.