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Practicability and Acceptance of Subcutaneous Self-administration of the Selective Serotonin Agonist Sumatriptan

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To cater to the special situation of much reduced oral bio-availability which occurs in severe migraine attacks with pronounced nausea and vomiting, sumatriptan can also be used in a subcutaneous form that can be self-administered. The aim of this study was to analyze the practicability and acceptance of a method of self-administration (“Glaxo-Pen”) for treatment of severe migraine attacks by subcutaneous injection of sumatriptan. The Glaxo-Pen was compared with the conventional autoinjector for subcutaneous administration of sumatriptan. The multicenter study was conducted under practical conditions by 150 office-based physician in Germany. Patients who commonly suffered from severe migraine attacks were given a careful explanation of how to use the device (“Glaxo-Pen”) for self-administration of subcutaneous sumatriptan and were able to practice using it under guidance.They were given a Glaxo-Pen with two sumatriptan refills to take with them for treating their own migraine attacks. The patients used a headache diary to document administration outside the practice session. A total of 376 patients were included in the study.

The major findings were that 80% of the patients rated the Glaxo-Pen “very easy” or “easy” to use, and only 6.4% rated it “difficult” or “very difficult.” Compared with the conventional autoinjector, the Glaxo-Pen was rated “much better” or “better” by 77.9% of patients. Only 8.5% considered the Glaxo-Pen “worse” or “much worse” than the conventional autoinjector. The figures show that the great majority of patients found it easy to use sumatriptan for treating severe migraine attacks by self-administration under practical conditions. Thus, especially for patients who suffer from severe nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea during migraine attacks, this method of delivery is an easily used means of arresting migraine attacks.

Keywords: Glaxo-Pen; autoinjector; migraine; subcutaneous; sumatriptan; therapy

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1526-4610.1998.3804267.x

Affiliations: From the Neurological Clinic of the Christian Albrecht University, Kiel, Germany.

Publication date: April 1, 1998

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