Sumatriptan Nasal Spray in Adolescent Migraineurs: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Acute Study


  • Paul Winner DO,

  • A. David Rothner MD,

  • John D. Wooten MD,

  • Chris Webster BS,

  • Michael Ames PhD

  • From the Palm Beach Headache Center, West Palm Beach, FL (Dr. Winner); The Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH (Dr. Rothner); Raleigh Neurology Associates, Raleigh, NC (Dr. Wooten); GlaxoSmithKline, Research Triangle Park, NC (Drs. Webster and Ames), USA.

Address all correspondence to Dr. Paul Winner, Palm Beach Headache Center, 4631 N. Congress Avenue, Suite 200, West Palm Beach, FL 33407.


Objective.—To compare the efficacy and tolerability of sumatriptan nasal spray (NS) (5, 20 mg) versus placebo in the acute treatment of migraine in adolescent subjects.

Background.—Currently, no triptan is approved in the United States for the treatment of migraine in adolescent subjects (12 to 17 years). In a previous randomized, placebo-controlled study of 510 adolescent subjects, sumatriptan NS at 5, 10, and 20 mg doses was well tolerated. However, the primary efficacy analysis for headache relief with 20 mg at 2 hours did not demonstrate statistical significance (P= .059). A second study was initiated to evaluate the efficacy of sumatriptan NS in this population.

Methods.—This was a randomized (1:1:1), placebo-controlled, double-blind, parallel-group study. Overall, 738 adolescent subjects (mean age: 14 years) with ≥6-month history of migraine (with or without aura) self-treated a single attack of moderate or severe migraine. The primary endpoints were headache relief at 1 hour and sustained relief from 1 to 24 hours. Pain-free rates, presence/absence of associated symptoms, headache recurrence, and use of rescue medications were also assessed. Tolerability was based on adverse events (AEs) and vital signs.

Results.—Sumatriptan NS 20 mg provided greater headache relief than placebo at 30 minutes (42% vs. 33%, respectively; P= .046) and 2 hours (68% vs. 58%; P= .025) postdose, but did not reach statistical significance at 1 hour (61% vs. 52%; P= .087) or for sustained headache relief from 1 to 24 hours (P= .061). Significant differences (P < .05) in favor of sumatriptan NS 20 mg over placebo were observed for several secondary efficacy endpoints including sustained relief from 2 to 24 hours. In general, sumatriptan NS 5 mg percentages were slightly higher than placebo but the differences did not reach statistical significance. Both doses of sumatriptan NS were well tolerated. No AEs were serious or led to study withdrawal. The most common event was taste disturbance (2%, placebo; 19%, sumatriptan NS 5 mg; 25%, sumatriptan NS 20 mg).

Conclusions.—This study suggests that sumatriptan may be beneficial to some adolescents and is generally well tolerated in the acute treatment of migraine in this population.