Subcutaneous Sumatriptan in a Clinical Setting: The First 100 Consecutive Patients With Acute Migraine in a Tertiary Care Center


Fred D. Sheftell, M.D., The New England Center for Headache, 778 Long Ridge Road, Stamford, CT 06902



The first 100 consecutive patients at our center receiving subcutaneous sumatriptan (6 mg) were evaluated over a total of 455 migraine attacks. Parameters included overall efficacy, average time to relief, recurrence rate, average time to recurrence, adverse events, comparison to previous abortive agents, and subjective global ratings. Overall efficacy (defined as headache severity reduction from severe or moderate to mild or none) was 84%. Average time to relief was 40 minutes. Nine percent failed to respond at all. Recurrence rate was 46.5% with 36% of patients having no recurrence. Fourteen percent of patients reported 100% recurrence (minimum 3 attacks; average 5.4 attacks). Time to recurrence varied widely, but averaged 9.1 hours. Eighty-one percent rated the drug better or much better than previous abortive medications in terms of sumatriptan's ability to abort the attack. Seventy-seven percent reported some adverse event (generally mild and transient) with 23% reporting no adverse events, Sixty-nine percent reported a global rating of Good to Excellent and 31% rated Poor or Fair. The rate of recurrence and average time to recurrence were the most significant factors affecting the global ratings.

These parameters were further evaluated with respect to a variety of subgroups: 1) migraine alone 2) migraine with coexistent tension-type headache 3) drug-induced headache (analgesic rebound headache) 4) posttraumatic headache 5) preventive versus no preventive medication 6) presence or absence of adverse events 7) presence or absence of recurrence and 8) average duration of migraine with no medication.