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Needle-free injection of sumatriptan

Posted Oct 25 2009 11:03pm

Needle-free injection of sumatriptan (Imitrex) was tested for its ease of use and for its bioequivalence in a study led by Dr. Jan Brandes.  The new device that provides needle-free subcutaneous injections was easy to use and if injected into the thigh or abdomen (but not the upper arm) delivered the same amount of medicine as an injection with a needle.  Unfortunately, needle-free does not mean pain-free, so the injection still hurts.  This device, when it is approved by the FDA, may be useful for those patients who are afraid of needles.  Many migraine sufferers still do not know that injections of sumatriptan can be easily self-administered using a pen-like device that does contain a needle.  Many doctors do not offer this option because they do not think that patients will readily accept an injection or because they don’t realize how severe the migraines are.  I see many migraine sufferers who gladly take an injection over the tablet.  It is particularly effective for people who have severe nausea and vomiting with their migraine.  The speed of relief is another reason to take an injection - some patients wake up with a migraine and have to go to work or take care of their children and cannot wait for 1-2 hours before the tablet provides relief.  I have taken sumatriptan injection many times myself.  Usually the tablet works for me, but if before going to bed I have a headache from the wine I had with dinner, I will often opt for a shot.  The shot works within 10-15 minutes and allows me to fall asleep right after that, while a tablet may take an hour or longer.

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