Many triptans are available only in pill form. Pills are less than ideal for migraine treatment because of the gastrointestinal difficulties experienced by many people with migraines. Not only is there the nausea and vomiting, but the stomach also slows down and takes a long time to process medication and distribute it throughout the body.
The Sumatriptan injections are a great option for avoiding the stomach and getting fast relief. However, many people are scared of ever trying the product because it requires you to give yourself a shot. Even for people who aren't usually scared of needles the idea of having to give yourself a shot is intimidating. I'm an old hand at it now, but when I first started using the Sumatriptan injections I always asked my husband (then boyfriend) to do it for me.
Some triptans are currently available in nasal spray forms. They are preferable to pills, but there are limitations to the technology used in these products. Researchers say these nasal sprays direct most of the medication to the wrong part of the nose and the part that goes to the correct part of the nose is often swallowed by the patient. In their testing the OptiNose manufacturers say their design does a better job of directing the medication to the right place in the nose. The patient blows into a mouthpiece. The medication (a Sumatriptan powder) is incorporated into the air blown by the patient and that air travels through the nose piece into the patient's nose. The act of blowing causes the soft palate to close. By closing the soft palate the nasal canal is isolated and all the medication is directed into the nasal canal, which is the target for a medication using a nasal spray delivery device.
According to information released by the device developers it is three times more effective than other triptan nasal sprays. This is likely because the OptiNose device has been designed to get consistent results by only delivering the Sumatriptan powerder to the correct part of the nose. They also say the device is almost as effective as the Sumatriptan injection.
OptiNose is still gathering information about the safety and effectiveness of the device in delivering Sumatriptan. It is too soon to know when they will file for Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approval.
Intranasal Sumatriptan Powder
OptiNose Bi-Directional Nasal Delivery
Keys to Successful Nasal Drug Delivery
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Content by Diana E. Lee.DISCLAIMER: Nothing on this site constitutes medical or legal advice. I am a patient who is engaged and educated and enjoys sharing my experiences and news about migraines, pain and depression. Please consult your own health care providers for advice on your unique situation.