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Posted by Bob Johnson ( on March 06, 2000 at 09:11:49:

In Reply to: question about imitrex nasal spray posted by LC on March 05, 2000 at 19:37:56:

Print this out and take to your doc. Since it's from one of the best known medical journals re. headache, it might convince him to increase the dose.

1 : Cephalalgia 1998 Sep;18(7):487-9 Related Articles, Books

Sumatriptan nasal spray (20 mg/dose) in the acute treatment of cluster headache.

Hardebo JE, Dahlof C

Department of Neurology, Lund University Hospital, Gothenburg, Sweden.

Subcutaneous injection of sumatriptan is an effective treatment for attacks of cluster headache with a short onset of action. This open, randomized study evaluates whether sumatriptan nasal spray at its highest commercially available dose (20 mg/dose) is equally effective. In 26 patients, four consecutive attacks were treated alternately with nasal spray and subcutaneous injection. Treatment was given within 5 min of onset of pain, and the time interval for the start and completeness of pain relief, provided these occurred within 15 min of administration, were recorded by the patient. After completion of the study, the patients were also asked to indicate which treatment they preferred, based on efficacy, side effects, and handling of the preparation. Forty-nine of the 52 treatments with injection resulted in complete relief of pain within 15 min, with a mean of 9.6 min. The remaining three attacks were reduced by a mean of 86.7% at 15 min. Only 7 of the 52 treatments with nasal spray in the nostril ipsilateral to pain resulted in complete relief within this time period, with a mean of 13.0 min. In 18 of these treatments pain was reduced by a mean of 42.2% at 15 min, whereas no effect on pain was obtained at this time in the remaining 27 treatments. The effect was almost identical when the nasal spray was administered in the nostril on the non-painful side. As an overall judgement, only 2 of the 26 patients preferred nasal spray to injection. We conclude that sumatriptan nasal spray 20 mg/dose is less effective than subcutaneous injection in relieving pain in the great majority of cluster headache sufferers.

Publication Types:
Clinical trial
Randomized controlled trial

PMID: 9793702, UI: 99010117

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