Sumatriptan is an API that works with the serotonin neurons in the brain to fight migraines and cluster headaches. By constricting the blood vessels in the brain back to their normal size and preventing the trigeminal nerve from firing at full force, sumatriptan is designed to stop symptoms as soon as they start. By regulating the blood flow and disrupting the inflammation in the head, patients can use sumatriptan either on its own or with combination therapy to get relief from even the most excruciating of headaches.
History and Facts
In 1991, this API was made clinically available on a limited basis. In fact, it was customary in the US to only allow 9 doses of sumatriptan for every 30 days. The API has been shown to be especially effective when combined with naproxen (more so than either drug on its own), with a version of this drug having been approved by the FDA in 2008. This API is a 5-HT receptor agonist and inhibits the full release of CGRP. It’s the CGRP that makes the trigeminal nerves of the brain more sensitive (or the assumed primary cause of pain for migraine sufferers.) However, there is still an ongoing debate about exactly how sumatriptan works to inhibit the CGRP.
In addition to migraines, sumatriptan may also be able to help those who suffer from cluster headaches. Even though the symptoms of the two ailments are different, sumatriptan has been shown to effectively fight against both. In one study, more than 75% of people found that their cluster headaches cleared up after using the injectable form of sumatriptan. As the medical community learns more about the causes and the mechanisms behind both types of headaches, it’s predicted that the efficacy rates of this API will increase. Sufferers are encouraged to take preventative medication regardless of whether they get migraines or cluster headaches, but sumatriptan may be the best solution if prevention medications fail to do their job.
How to Use Sumatriptan
Sumatriptan was originally taken via tablet but has since been developed into a solution that can be either injected or ingested via a nasal inhaler. The API can also be used with a jet injector, so as to reduce the amount of needle-stick injuries of standard injection. There’s even a patch that was developed to be placed on the skin to deliver a dosage to the patient every 30 minutes. This was approved by the FDA in 2013, but sales stopped after the patches caused skin irritation. Sumatriptan can be taken over the counter in certain European countries but needs a prescription in the United States. The medication appears to be metabolized by monoamine oxidase (with the A isoenzyme doing the heavy lifting.)
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