Stewart J. Tepper, MD
The acute treatment of migraine requires matching patient need to drug and formulation. In particular, nausea and vomiting, quick time to peak intensity, and the common astroparesis of migraineurs, all call for a variety of non-oral formulations for treatment of attacks. A novel breath-powered powder sumatriptan intranasal treatment offers an improvement, at least in pharmacokinetics, over conventional liquid nasal sumatriptan spray. The device for delivery in this breath-powered nasal sumatriptan uses natural nose anatomy to close the soft palate and propel the sumatriptan high up in the nasal cavity on one side with bidirectional airflow coming out the other side. This approach has the potential to reduce adverse events and improve efficacy. Phase 3 data on this system are in press at the time of this writing and results appear promising. The clinical role for a fast acting non-oral nasal formulation will be in those for whom tablets are bound to fail, that is, in the setting of nausea and vomiting or when the time to central sensitization, allodynia, and disabling migraine is too short for the patient to respond to a tablet. This review provides a clinical perspective on the breath-powered powder sumatriptan intranasal treatment.