Per G. Djupesland, MD, PhD; John C. Messina, PharmD; Ramy A. Mahmoud, MD, MPH
The nose offers an attractive noninvasive alternative for drug delivery. Nasal anatomy, with a large mucosal surface area and high vascularity, allows for rapid systemic absorption and other potential benefits. However, the complex nasal geometry, including the narrow anterior valve, poses a serious challenge to efficient drug delivery. This barrier, plus the inherent limitationsof traditional nasal delivery mechanisms, has precluded achievement of the full potential of nasal delivery. Breath Powered bi-directional delivery, a simple but novel nasal delivery mechanism, overcomes these barriers. This innovative mechanism has now been applied to the delivery of sumatriptan. Multiple studies of drug deposition, including comparisons of traditional nasal sprays to Breath Powered delivery, demonstrate significantly improved deposition to superior and posterior intranasal target sites beyond the nasal valve. Pharmacokinetic studies in both healthy subjects and migraineurs suggest that improved deposition of sumatriptan translates into improved absorption and pharmacokinetics. Importantly, the absorption profile is shifted toward a more pronounced early peak, representing nasal absorption, with a reduced late peak, representing predominantly gastrointestinal (GI) absorption. The flattening and “spreading out” of the GI peak appears more pronounced in migraine sufferers than healthy volunteers, likely reflecting impaired GI absorption described in migraineurs. In replicated clinical trials, Breath Powered delivery of low-dose sumatriptan was well accepted and well tolerated by patients, and onset of pain relief was faster than generally reported in previous trials with noninjectable triptans. Interestingly, Breath Powered delivery also allows for the potential of headache-targeted medications to be better delivered to the trigeminal nerve and the sphenopalatine ganglion, potentially improving treatment of various types of headache. In brief, Breath Powered bi-directional intranasal delivery offers a new and more efficient mechanism for nasal drug delivery, providing an attractive option for improved treatment of headaches by enabling or enhancing the benefits of current and future headache therapies.