Sumatriptan Iontophoretic Transdermal System: History, Study Results, and Use in Clinical Practice


  • Conflict of Interest: The authors are employees of NuPathe, Inc.

Address all correspondence to M. Pierce, NuPathe, Inc., 227 Washington Street, Suite 200, Conshohocken, PA 19428, USA, email:


Nausea is a common symptom of migraine, and current treatment guidelines recommend non-oral formulations for nauseated or vomiting patients. Transdermal delivery of sumatriptan, a 5-hydroxytryptamine1B1D agonist with established efficacy in patients with migraine, represents a novel approach to acute treatment. The sumatriptan iontophoretic transdermal system circumvents the gastrointestinal tract by using low-level electrical energy to transport sumatriptan across the skin. In multiple well-controlled studies, the sumatriptan transdermal system has shown that it provides consistent drug delivery with low interpatient variability, rapid relief of migraine pain and associated symptoms, and an excellent overall safety profile, with a low incidence of triptan-sensation adverse events. Patients and health care professionals who have used the sumatriptan transdermal system give it high ratings for ease of use/application. The sumatriptan transdermal system will allow a wide range of patients, especially those who experience migraine-related nausea or vomiting, to receive the benefits of migraine-specific therapy.