An Open-Label Trial of a Sumatriptan Auto-Injector for Migraine in Patients Currently Treated With Subcutaneous Sumatriptan


  • Conflict of Interest: Dr. Schweizer is the owner of Paladin Consulting Group, Inc., which was a paid consultant to Pfizer, Inc. in connection with the development of this manuscript. Dr. Ramos is an employee of Pfizer, Inc.
  • indentifier: NCT00510419.
  • This study was sponsored by King Pharmaceuticals®, Inc., which was acquired by Pfizer, Inc. in March 2011.



To assess the ability of patients, during an acute migraine attack, to successfully self-inject a single dose of sumatriptan using a novel sumatriptan auto-injector (Alsuma®), and to evaluate the safety, tolerability, and effectiveness of this sumatriptan auto-injector during an acute migraine attack.


This sumatriptan auto-injector is a single-use system for the rapid subcutaneous delivery of 6 mg of sumatriptan succinate in the acute management of migraine pain. This auto-injector was developed to address the clinical need for an easy-to-use and rapid-to-administer system that did not require any assembly during the time of an ongoing attack.


This was an open-label, phase 3 trial conducted at 10 sites in the USA. Male or female adults, ages 18-60 years old, were eligible for study entry if they met International Headache Society criteria for migraine with or without aura, with at least 2 attacks per month, and if they reported use of subcutaneous injectable sumatriptan on at least 2 occasions within the previous 2 months. During the onset of a migraine attack of moderate-to-severe intensity, patients were asked to administer a 6-mg subcutaneous dose of sumatriptan using the auto-injector. Patients returned to the study site within 72 hours of the migraine for the post-treatment assessment visit.


A total of 63 patients met entry criteria and received a dose of study medication (the intent-to-treat sample). Sixty-one patients (96.8%) reported injection in the thigh, and 2 patients (3.2%) reported injection in the arm. On the patient questionnaire, 100% of patients (95% confidence interval [CI] 94.3-100%) “agreed” or “agreed strongly” that the written instructions for the auto-injector were clear and easy to follow (30.2% “agreed”; 69.8% “agreed strongly”); 95.2% of patients (95% CI 86.7-99.0%) found that the auto-injector was easy to use (36.5% “agreed”; 58.7% “agreed strongly”), and 65.1% of patients (95% CI 52.0-76.7%) stated that they preferred the new auto-injector to the traditional auto-injector that they were using prior to study entry (42.9% “agreed”; 22.2% “agreed strongly”). Headache response rate at 2 hours was 93.7% (95% CI 84.5-98.2%), and pain-free rate at 2 hours was 60.3% (95% CI 47.2-72.4%). Pain-free rates at 2 hours were similarly high (58.3%; 95% CI 36.6-77.9%) in the subgroup of patients reporting severe baseline headache pain. Only 1 patient reported use of rescue medication after use of the auto-injector, a single oral dose of sumatriptan 100 mg on the same day. The most frequent adverse event was injection site bruising, reported by 15.9% of patients, and rated in all instance as mild in intensity. The second most frequent adverse event was injection site pain, reported by 6.3% of patients, and rated as mild by all patients except 1, who rated it as moderate in intensity.


The majority of injection-experienced patients reported the pre-assembled, single-use sumatriptan auto-injector to be an easy-to-use, preferred treatment for an acute migraine attack. The study found the auto-injector to be safe and well tolerated, with levels of injection site reactions that were mild and infrequent.