Monday, August 23, 2010

Sumavel - The "New" Old Migraine Medication

Following in the footsteps of the newest pharmaceutical trends in which drug companies are taking old drug formulations and giving them a new method of delivery, Sumavel is a new delivery system for an old Migraine medicine - sumatriptan.

Sumatriptan is in the class of drugs called Triptans, which are considered the new 'gold standard' Migraine treatment for most Migraine attacks. There are several drugs in this class, but the first that was introduced to the public several years ago was sumatriptan - then called Imitrex. Sumatriptan is now available as a generic and as such has become much less expensive. Until now, this particular drug was available most commonly as a subcutaneous injection utilizing and injector with a very small needle, nasal spray or as a tiny tablet. (Other possible delivery methods include compounded medicines, drug patches, etc) The injection form begins to take effect nearly immediately and has more side effects, while the tablet takes approximately 20 minutes or so to begin hitting the system, making the patient suffer significantly longer before getting relief.

Sumavel is sumatriptan in a new type of needleless injection. It utilizes a quick, powerful burst of nitrogen to deliver the drug through the skin into the patient.

While delivering sumatriptan in a needless injection may at first sound really fabulous (who of us would normally prefer a needle over needleless?) all things are not equal with this delivery system. The video below gives more details about the drawbacks of Sumavel which include more pain and bruising at the injection site, and higher cost.

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Patients with Raynaud's, circulatory disorders or autoimmune disease will want to take special care to discuss Triptans with their physicians. Triptans are contraindicated in several health conditions and your doctor may not be aware of all these conditions, so don't be afraid to look them up yourself and ask questions. It's definitely okay to request a particular medication or delivery system, and it's your responsibility to refuse a medicine you think may be harmful to you.

Giving yourself an injection is really not that difficult. Injectors are simple and nearly painless, and if you prefer, you can easily give yourself an injection the "old fashioned way" without the injector. (For further reading and a how-to video see B12 injection basics for some neat tricks on painless self-injection)

If you are having trouble with your current Migraine treatment or preventative, please seek the help of a Headache Specialist or Headache Clinic. These physicians are specially trained in the treatment of headache disorders including Migraine and are worth the trouble of locating and using them.

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