Once I start telling you about Zembrace Symtouch, which was approved by the FDA last year, you’re going to wonder why in the world it’s newsworthy in this world of new frontiers in migraine treatment. There are simply a lot of reasons not to like Zembrace – at first glance. But it just might surprise you, as it surprised me.
So with all the new treatment options out there, what if I told you that this new treatment is an injection, and worse, that it’s a retooling of an old migraine treatment – a triptan – the oldest triptan on the block – sumatriptan. Even worse, I’m going to tell you that the injection will give you less of the medicine than many have tried in the past.
See? I just lost half my audience. “I hate injections” — “I already tried sumatriptan” — “I need something stronger” …
But for all the open-minded people who are still here, let’s take a closer look.
For many people, taking an injection for migraine is like eating brussell sprouts is for me. I know it’s good for me, but it just ain’t happening. We know that migraine needs to be treated quickly, and medically speaking injections are an excellent way to get the medication quickly.
But more than that, many migraine patients suffer from forms of gastric stasis, which means that pills simply won’t get the medication into your system properly. So if you’ve tried triptans by the oral method and they haven’t worked, you may find that it’s just because they weren’t properly absorbed.
And when it comes to injections, Zembrace really is cutting edge. It comes in the form of a “pen”, single use, with the exact amount of medication you need built in. It also has the thinnest needle of all autoinjectors.
It’s so easy to use, it’s very hard to make a mistake. It’s quick, taking only a few seconds, and will get the medication working within 10 minutes (yes, some people actually start experiencing pain relief that quickly).
As regular readers know, a different triptan, or even a different “version” of the same triptan, can make all the difference. So it’s not surprising when someone who has tried sumatriptan before without success tries it again in a different formulation and finds that it works.
What is surprising is the dosage of Zembrace. Originally, sumatriptan was marketed in a 6mg dose. 4mg has been available for a while. But – 3mg?
Actually, studies have compared the 6mg dosage with the 3mg dosage. The results are not only comparable – in some cases, 3mg even performed better. And the patient may experience less side effects with the lower dosage (see notes below).
So Zembrace is worth a look if you suffer from migraine or cluster headache. Not only because it is easy to use and uses the best technology for treatment of its kind, but also because it may lead to more similar medications in the future.
- Pilot study evaluating preference for 3-mg versus 6-mg subcutaneous sumatriptan.
- Randomized, double-blind, crossover study comparing DFN-11 injection (3 mg subcutaneous sumatriptan) with 6 mg subcutaneous sumatriptan for the treatment of rapidly-escalating attacks of episodic migraine
- Sumatriptan injections still underutilized. New lower dose, easy-to-use device could help
- My Experience with Zembrace, the 3 mg Sumatriptan Injection
- 10 Triptan Facts You Need to Know Now