Zolmitriptan (Page 4 of 6)


Zolmitriptan tablets are selective 5-hydroxytryptamine 1B/1D (5HT1B/1D ) receptor agonists. Zolmitriptan is chemically designated as (S)-4-[[3-[2-(dimethylamino)ethyl]-1H-indol-5yl]methyl]-2-oxazolidinone and has the following chemical structure:


The empirical formula is C16 H21 N3 O2 representing a molecular weight of 287.36. Zolmitriptan is a white to off-white powder that is freely soluble in methanol and dimethylsulfoxide, insoluble in water.

Zolmitriptan tablets are available as 2.5 mg (yellow and functionally-score) and 5 mg (pink, not scored) film coated tablets for oral administration. The film coated tablets contain lactose monohydrate, microcrystalline cellulose, sodium starch glycolate, magnesium stearate, hypromellose, polyethylene glycol, polysorbate, titanium dioxide, yellow iron oxide, and red iron oxide.


12.1 Mechanism of Action

Zolmitriptan binds with high affinity to human recombinant 5HT1D and 5-HT1B receptors, and moderate affinity for 5-HT1A receptors. The N-desmethyl metabolite also has high affinity for 5-HT1B/1D and moderate affinity for 5-HT1A receptors.

Migraines are likely due to local cranial vasodilatation and/or to the release of sensory neuropeptides (vasoactive intestinal peptide, substance P and calcitonin gene-related peptide) through nerve endings in the trigeminal system. The therapeutic activity of zolmitriptan tablets for the treatment of migraine headache is thought to be due to the agonist effects at the 5-HT1B/1D receptors on intracranial blood vessels (including the arterio-venous anastomoses) and sensory nerves of the trigeminal system which result in cranial vessel constriction and inhibition of pro-inflammatory neuropeptide release.

12.3 Pharmacokinetics

Absorption, Distribution, Metabolism, and Excretion


Zolmitriptan is well absorbed after oral administration for both zolmitriptan tablets and the zolmitriptan orally disintegrating tablets. Zolmitriptan displays linear kinetics over the dose range of 2.5 to 50 mg.

The AUC and Cmax of zolmitriptan are similar following administration of zolmitriptan tablets and zolmitriptan orally disintegrating tablets, but the Tmax is somewhat later with zolmitriptan orally disintegrating tablets, with a median Tmax of 3 hours for zolmitriptan orally disintegrating tablet compared with 1.5 hours for the zolmitriptan tablet. The AUC, Cmax , and Tmax for the active N-desmethyl metabolite are similar for the two formulations.

During a moderate to severe migraine attack, mean AUC0-4 and Cmax for zolmitriptan, dosed as a zolmitriptan tablet, were decreased by 40% and 25%, respectively, and mean Tmax was delayed by one-half hour compared to the same patients during a migraine free period.

Food has no significant effect on the bioavailability of zolmitriptan. No accumulation occurred on multiple dosing.


Mean absolute bioavailability is approximately 40%. The mean apparent volume of distribution is 7.0 L/kg. Plasma protein binding of zolmitriptan is 25% over the concentration range of 10 to 1000 ng/mL.


Zolmitriptan is converted to an active N-desmethyl metabolite; the metabolite concentrations are about two-thirds that of zolmitriptan. Because the 5HT1B/1D potency of the metabolite is 2 to 6 times that of the parent compound, the metabolite may contribute a substantial portion of the overall effect after zolmitriptan tablets administration.


Total radioactivity recovered in urine and feces was 65% and 30% of the administered dose, respectively. About 8% of the dose was recovered in the urine as unchanged zolmitriptan. Indole acetic acid metabolite accounted for 31% of the dose, followed by N-oxide (7%) and N-desmethyl (4%) metabolites. The indole acetic acid and N-oxide metabolites are inactive.

Mean total plasma clearance is 31.5 mL/min/kg, of which one-sixth is renal clearance. The renal clearance is greater than the glomerular filtration rate suggesting renal tubular secretion.

Specific Populations

Hepatic Impairment

In patients with severe hepatic impairment, the mean Cmax , Tmax , and AUC0-∞ of zolmitriptan were increased 1.5-fold, 2-fold (2 vs. 4 hours), and 3-fold, respectively, compared to subjects with normal hepatic function. Seven out of 27 patients experienced 20 to 80 mm Hg elevations in systolic and/or diastolic blood pressure after a 10 mg zolmitriptan tablet dose. Adjust the zolmitriptan tablet dose in patients with moderate or severe hepatic impairment [see Dosage and Administration (2.3), Use in Specific Populations (8.6)].

Renal Impairment

Clearance of zolmitriptan was reduced by 25% in patients with severe renal impairment (Clcr ≥ 5 ≤ 25 mL/min) compared to subjects with normal renal function (Clcr > = 70 mL/min); no significant change in clearance was observed in patients with moderate renal impairment (Clcr ≥ 26 ≤ 50 mL/min).


Zolmitriptan pharmacokinetics in healthy elderly non-migraineur volunteers (age 65 to 76 years) was similar to those in younger non-migraineur volunteers (age 18 to 39 years).


Mean plasma concentrations of zolmitriptan were up to 1.5 fold higher in females than males.


Retrospective analysis of pharmacokinetic data between Japanese and Caucasians revealed no significant differences.

Hypertensive Patients

No differences in the pharmacokinetics of zolmitriptan or its effects on blood pressure were seen in mild to moderate hypertensive volunteers compared with normotensive controls.

Drug Interaction Studies

All drug interaction studies were performed in healthy volunteers using a single 10 mg dose of zolmitriptan tablet and a single dose of the other drug except where otherwise noted.

MAO Inhibitors

Following one week of administration of moclobemide (150 mg twice daily), a specific MAO-A inhibitor, there was an increase of about 25% in both Cmax and AUC for zolmitriptan and a 3-fold increase in the Cmax and AUC of the active N-desmethyl metabolite of zolmitriptan. MAO inhibitors are contraindicated in zolmitriptan tablets-treated patients [see Contraindications (4), Warnings and Precautions (5.7), Drug Interactions (7.2, 7.4)].

Selegiline, a selective MAO-B inhibitor, at a dose of 10 mg/day for 1 week, had no effect on the pharmacokinetics of zolmitriptan and its metabolite.


Following the administration of cimetidine, the half-life and AUC of zolmitriptan (5 mg dose), and its active metabolite, were approximately doubled [see Dosage and Administration (2.4), Drug Interactions (7.5)].


The pharmacokinetics of zolmitriptan, as well as its effect on blood pressure, were unaffected by 4 weeks of pretreatment with oral fluoxetine (20 mg/day).


Cmax and AUC of zolmitriptan were increased 1.5-fold after one week of dosing with propranolol (160 mg/day). Cmax and AUC of the N-desmethyl metabolite were reduced by 30% and 15%, respectively. There were no changes in blood pressure or pulse rate following administration of propranolol with zolmitriptan tablets.


A single 1 gram dose of acetaminophen did not alter the pharmacokinetics of zolmitriptan and its N-desmethyl metabolite. However, zolmitriptan tablet administration delayed the Tmax of acetaminophen by one hour.


A single 10 mg dose of metoclopramide had no effect on the pharmacokinetics of zolmitriptan or its metabolites.

Oral Contraceptives

Retrospective analysis of pharmacokinetic data across studies indicated that mean Cmax and AUC of zolmitriptan were increased by 30% and 50%, respectively, and Tmax was delayed by one-half hour in women taking oral contraceptives. The effect of zolmitriptan tablets on the pharmacokinetics of oral contraceptives has not been studied.


13.1 Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility


Zolmitriptan was administered to mice and rats at doses up to 400 mg/kg/day. Mice were dosed for 85 weeks (males) and 92 weeks (females); rats were dosed for 101 weeks (males) and 86 weeks (females). There was no evidence of drug-induced tumors in mice at plasma exposures (AUC) up to approximately 700 times that in humans at the maximum recommended human dose (MRHD) of 10 mg/day. In rats, there was an increase in the incidence of thyroid follicular cell hyperplasia and thyroid follicular cell adenomas in male rats receiving 400 mg/kg/day. No increase in tumors was observed in rats at 100 mg/kg/day, a dose associated with a plasma AUC approximately 700 times that in humans at the MRHD.


Zolmitriptan was positive in an in vitro bacterial reverse mutation (Ames) assay and in an in vitro chromosomal aberration assay in human lymphocytes. Zolmitriptan was negative in an in vitro mammalian gene cell mutation (CHO/HGPRT) assay and in oral in vivo mouse micronucleus assays in mouse and rat.

Impairment of Fertility

Studies of male and female rats administered zolmitriptan prior to and during mating and up to implantation showed no impairment of fertility at oral doses up to 400 mg/kg/day. The plasma exposure (AUC) at this dose was approximately 3000 times that in humans at the MRHD.

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