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Date of issue: April 2020, Version: 2.1

‘Triptans’ (almotriptan, eletriptan, frovatriptan, naratriptan, rizatriptan, sumatriptan, and zolmitriptan) are 5HT1-receptor agonists used in the treatment of acute migraine and cluster headache. They are not used for migraine prophylaxis. 

The available data (including a collective total of ~11,000 pregnancies with exposure to any triptan and >9,000 sumatriptan-exposed pregnancies) do not raise concern of an increased risk of congenital malformation following in utero exposure. However, evidence for other triptans is extremely limited or lacking and assessment of malformation risk for these drugs is therefore not currently possible.

There is no robust evidence of increased risk of miscarriage following use of triptans as a group or of sumatriptan specifically. Data also do not raise concerns of low infant birth weight, or preterm delivery with gestational use of triptans as a group, although data for these outcomes are more limited and no conclusions can be drawn about specific triptans. A single study has assessed the rate of stillbirth after exposure to sumatriptan or naratriptan, and although these data do not raise concern, they are not sufficient to make an evidence-based assessment of the risk of stillbirth following triptan exposure. No studies have assessed rates of neurodevelopmental outcomes following in utero triptan exposure.

Where triptan use in pregnancy is clinically indicated, use of sumatriptan in preference to the other triptans, for which there are a lack of data, is advised. Where treatment with another triptan has been established preconceptually, an individual risk benefit analysis of continuing therapy for that patient needs to be undertaken and the available data considered and discussed with the patient.

Exposure to triptans at any stage in pregnancy would not usually be regarded as medical grounds for termination of pregnancy or additional fetal monitoring. However, other risk factors may be present in individual cases which may independently increase the risk of adverse pregnancy outcome. Clinicians are reminded of the importance of consideration of such factors when performing case-specific risk assessments.

This is a summary of the full UKTIS monograph for health care professionals and should not be used in isolation. The full UKTIS monograph and access to any hyperlinked related documents is available to NHS health care professionals who are logged in.

If you have a patient with exposure to a drug or chemical and require assistance in making a patient-specific risk assessment, please telephone UKTIS on 0344 892 0909 to discuss the case with a teratology specialist.

If you would like to report a pregnancy to UKTIS please click here to download our pregnancy reporting form. Please encourage all women to complete an online reporting form.

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that this monograph was accurate and up-to-date at the time of writing, however it cannot cover every eventuality and the information providers cannot be held responsible for any adverse outcomes of the measures recommended. The final decision regarding which treatment is used for an individual patient remains the clinical responsibility of the prescriber. This material may be freely reproduced for education and not for profit purposes within the UK National Health Service, however no linking to this website or reproduction by or for commercial organisations is permitted without the express written permission of this service. This document is regularly reviewed and updated. Only use UKTIS monographs downloaded directly from to ensure you are using the most up-to-date version.