Three distinct pharmacological actions have been implicated in the antimigraine effect of the triptans: (1) stimulation of presynaptic 5-HT1D receptors, which serves to inhibit both dural vasodilation and inflammation; (2) direct inhibition of trigeminal nuclei cell excitability via 5-HT1B/1D receptor agonism in the brainstem and (3) vasoconstriction of meningeal, dural, cerebral or pial vessels as a result of vascular 5-HT1B receptor agonism.
Naratriptan is a selective agonist of serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine; 5-HT) type 1B and 1D receptors. It is structurally and pharmacologically related to other selective 5-HT1B/1D receptor agonist. Naratriptan has only a weak affinity for 5-HT1A, 5-HT5A, and 5-HT7 receptors and no significant affinity or pharmacological activity at 5-HT2, 5-HT3 or 5-HT4 receptor subtypes or at alpha1-, alpha2-, or beta-adrenergic, dopamine1, ; dopamine2; muscarinic, or benzodiazepine receptors. This action in humans correlates with the relief of migraine headache. In addition to causing vasoconstriction, experimental data from animal studies show that Naratriptan also activates 5-HT1 receptors on peripheral terminals of the trigeminal nerve innervating cranial blood vessels, which may also contribute to the antimigrainous effect of Naratriptan in humans.
Primarily hepatic. In vitro, naratriptan is metabolized by a wide range of cytochrome P450 isoenzymes into a number of inactive metabolites.
Symptoms of overdose include light-headedness, loss of coordination, tension in the neck, and tiredness.