"Most of us get headaches from time to time. Some are mild. Others cause throbbing pain. They can last for minutes or days. There are many different types of headaches. How you treat yours depends on which kind you have.
- Patient Information:
Details with Side Effects
Risk of Myocardial Ischemia and Infarction and/or Other Adverse Cardiac Events
Cardiac Events and Fatalities with 5-HT 1 Agonists
Serious adverse cardiac events, including acute myocardial infarction, life-threatening disturbances of cardiac rhythm, and death have been reported within a few hours following the administration of sumatriptan. Considering the extent of use of sumatriptan in patients with migraine, the incidence of these events is extremely low.
Sumatriptan can cause coronary vasospasm. Some of these events have occurred in patients with no prior cardiac disease history and with documented absence of CAD with close proximity of the events to sumatriptan use. Because ALSUMA may cause coronary artery vasospasm, patients who experience signs or symptoms suggestive of angina following ALSUMA administration should be evaluated for the presence of CAD or a predisposition to Prinzmetal variant angina before receiving additional doses of sumatriptan and should be monitored electrocardiographically if dosing is resumed and similar symptoms recur.
Premarketing Experience with Sumatriptan
Among the more than 1,900 patients with migraine who participated in reported premarketing controlled clinical trials of subcutaneous sumatriptan, there were 8 patients who sustained clinical events during or shortly after receiving sumatriptan that may have reflected coronary artery vasospasm. Six of these 8 patients had ECG changes consistent with transient ischemia, without accompanying clinical symptoms or signs. Of these 8 patients, 4 had either findings suggestive of CAD or risk factors predictive of CAD prior to study enrollment.
Of 6,348 patients with migraine who participated in premarketing controlled and uncontrolled clinical trials of oral sumatriptan, 2 experienced clinical adverse events shortly after receiving oral sumatriptan that may have reflected coronary vasospasm. Neither of these adverse events was associated with a serious clinical outcome.
Among approximately 4,000 patients with migraine who participated in premarketing controlled and uncontrolled clinical trials of sumatriptan nasal spray, 1 patient experienced an asymptomatic subendocardial infarction possibly subsequent to a coronary vasospastic event.
Postmarketing Experience with Sumatriptan
Serious cardiovascular events, some resulting in death, have been reported in association with the use of subcutaneous sumatriptan injection. The uncontrolled nature of postmarketing surveillance, however, makes it impossible to determine definitively the proportion of the reported cases that were actually caused by sumatriptan or to reliably assess causation in individual cases. On clinical grounds, the longer the latency between the administration of sumatriptan and the onset of the clinical event, the less likely the association is to be causative. Interest has focused on events beginning within 1 hour of the administration of sumatriptan.
Cardiac events that have been observed to have onset within 1 hour of sumatriptan administration include coronary artery vasospasm, transient ischemia, myocardial infarction, ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation, cardiac arrest, and death.
Some of these events occurred in patients who had no findings of CAD and appear to represent consequences of coronary artery vasospasm. However, among reports of serious cardiac events within 1 hour of sumatriptan administration, the majority had risk factors predictive of CAD, and the presence of significant underlying CAD was established in most cases. [see CONTRAINDICATIONS]
Patients with Documented Coronary Artery Disease
Because of the potential of this class of compound (5-HT1 agonists) to cause coronary vasospasm, ALSUMA should not be given to patients with documented ischemic or vasospastic coronary artery disease. [see CONTRAINDICATIONS]
Patients with Risk Factors for CAD
It is strongly recommended that ALSUMA not be given to patients in whom unrecognized CAD is predicted by the presence of risk factors (e.g., hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, smoking, obesity, diabetes, strong family history of CAD, female with surgical or physiological menopause, or male over 40 years of age) unless a cardiovascular evaluation provides satisfactory clinical evidence that the patient is reasonably free of coronary artery and ischemic myocardial disease or other significant underlying cardiovascular disease. The sensitivity of cardiac diagnostic procedures to detect cardiovascular disease or predisposition to coronary artery vasospasm is modest, at best. If, during the cardiovascular evaluation, the patient's medical history or electrocardiographic investigations reveal findings indicative of or consistent with coronary artery vasospasm or myocardial ischemia, ALSUMA should not be administered. [see CONTRAINDICATIONS]
For patients with risk factors predictive of CAD who have a satisfactory cardiovascular evaluation, it is strongly recommended that administration of the first dose of ALSUMA take place in the setting of a physician's office or similar medically staffed and equipped facility. Because cardiac ischemia can occur in the absence of clinical symptoms, consideration should be given to obtaining, on the first occasion of use, an electrocardiogram (ECG) during the interval immediately following use of ALSUMA in these patients with risk factors.
It is recommended that patients who are intermittent long-term users of ALSUMA and who have or acquire risk factors predictive of CAD, as described above, undergo cardiovascular evaluation periodically as they continue to use sumatriptan. In considering this recommendation for periodic cardiovascular evaluation, it is noted that patients with cluster headache are predominantly male and over 40 years of age, which are risk factors for CAD.
Sensations of Pain, Tightness, Pressure in the Chest and/or Throat, Neck and Jaw
Sensations of tightness, pain, pressure, and heaviness in the precordium, throat, neck, and jaw are relatively common after treatment with sumatriptan. Only rarely have these symptoms been associated with ischemic ECG changes.
However, because sumatriptan may cause coronary vasospasm, patients who experience signs or symptoms suggestive of angina following dosing should be evaluated for the presence of CAD or a predisposition to Prinzmetal's variant angina before receiving additional doses of medication, and should be monitored electrocardiographically if dosing is resumed and similar symptoms occur. Patients shown to have CAD and those with Prinzmetal's variant angina should not receive 5-HT1 agonists. [see CONTRAINDICATIONS]
Similarly, patients who experience other symptoms or signs suggestive of decreased arterial flow, such as ischemic bowel syndrome or Raynaud syndrome, following sumatriptan should be evaluated for atherosclerosis or predisposition to vasospasm. [see CONTRAINDICATIONS]
Drug-Associated Cerebrovascular Events and Fatalities
Cerebral hemorrhage, subarachnoid hemorrhage, stroke, and other cerebrovascular events have been reported in patients treated with subcutaneous sumatriptan, and some have resulted in fatalities. In a number of cases, it appears possible that the cerebrovascular events were primary, sumatriptan having been administered in the incorrect belief the symptoms experienced were a consequence of migraine when they were not. As with other acute migraine therapies, before treating headaches in patients not previously diagnosed as migraineurs, and in migraineurs who present with atypical symptoms, care should be taken to exclude other potentially serious neurological conditions. It should also be noted that patients with migraine may be at increased risk of certain cerebrovascular events (e.g., stroke, hemorrhage, transient ischemic attack). [see CONTRAINDICATIONS]
Other Vasospasm-Related Events, including Peripheral Vascular Ischemia and Colonic Ischemia
5-HT1 agonists, including ALSUMA, may cause vasospastic reactions other than coronary artery vasospasm. Both peripheral vascular ischemia and colonic ischemia with abdominal pain and bloody diarrhea have been reported.
Very rare reports of transient and permanent blindness and significant partial vision loss have been reported with the use of sumatriptan. Visual disorders may also be part of a migraine attack.
Patients who experience other symptoms or signs suggestive of decreased arterial flow following the use of any 5-HT1 agonist, such as ischemic bowel syndrome or Raynaud's syndrome, are candidates for further evaluation. [see CONTRAINDICATIONS]
The development of a potentially life-threatening serotonin syndrome may occur with triptans, including ALSUMA, particularly during combined use with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). If concomitant treatment with sumatriptan and an SSRI (e.g., fluoxetine, paroxetine, sertraline, fluvoxamine, citalopram, escitalopram) or SNRI (e.g., venlafaxine, duloxetine) is clinically warranted, careful observation of the patient is advised, particularly during treatment initiation and dose increases. Serotonin syndrome symptoms may include mental status changes (e.g., agitation, hallucinations, coma), autonomic instability (e.g., tachycardia, labile blood pressure, hyperthermia), neuromuscular aberrations (e.g., hyperreflexia, incoordination) and/or gastrointestinal symptoms (e.g., nausea, vomiting, diarrhea). [see DRUG INTERACTIONS]
Increase in Blood Pressure
ALSUMA is contraindicated in patients with uncontrolled hypertension. Sumatriptan should be administered with caution to patients with controlled hypertension, as transient increases in blood pressure and peripheral vascular resistance have been observed in a small proportion of patients. Significant elevation in blood pressure, including hypertensive crisis, has been reported on rare occasions in patients with and without a history of hypertension. [see CONTRAINDICATIONS]
Concomitant MAO-A inhibitors
The coadministration of ALSUMA and an MAO-A inhibitor is not generally recommended. In patients taking MAO-A inhibitors, sumatriptan plasma levels are nearly doubled. If such therapy is clinically warranted, however, suitable dose adjustment (e.g. using a different sumatriptan product, as ALSUMA only exists as a 6mg sumatriptan auto-injector) and appropriate observation of the patient are advised. [see DRUG INTERACTIONS and CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY]
There have been rare reports of seizure following administration of sumatriptan. Sumatriptan should be used with caution in patients with a history of epilepsy or conditions associated with a lowered seizure threshold.
ALSUMA should not be used during pregnancy unless the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus. [see Use in Specific Populations]
Sumatriptan causes corneal opacities and defects in the corneal epithelium in dogs; this raises the possibility that these changes may occur in humans. While patients were not systematically evaluated for these changes in clinical trials, and no specific recommendations for monitoring are being offered, prescribers should be aware of the possibility of these changes. [see Nonclinical Toxicology]
Medication Overuse Headache
Overuse of acute migraine drugs (e.g. ergotamine, triptans, opioids, or combinations of these drugs for 10 or more days per month) may lead to exacerbation of headache (medication overuse headache). Medication overuse headache may present as migraine-like daily headaches or as a marked increase in frequency of migraine attacks. Detoxification of patients, including withdrawal of the overused acute migraine drugs and treatment of withdrawal symptoms (which often includes a transient worsening of headache) may be necessary.
Patient Counseling Information
[see FDA-approved Patient Labeling]
Risk of Myocardial Ischemia and/or Infarction, Other Adverse Cardiac Events, Other Vasospasm-related Events, and Cerebrovascular Events
Inform patients that ALSUMA may cause serious cardiovascular side effects such as myocardial infarction or stroke, which may result in hospitalization and even death. Although serious cardiovascular events can occur without warning symptoms, patients should be alert for the signs and symptoms of chest pain, shortness of breath, weakness, slurring of speech, and should ask for medical advice when observing any indicative sign or symptoms. Apprise patients of the importance of this follow-up. [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
Caution patients about the risk of serotonin syndrome with the use of ALSUMA or other triptans, particularly during combined use with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
Inform patients that ALSUMA should not be used during pregnancy unless the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus. [see Use In Specific Populations]
Advise patients to notify their physician if they are breast-feeding or plan to breast-feed. [see Use In Specific Populations]
Patient Instructions for Use of ALSUMA
ALSUMA is a pre-filled, fully-assembled, single-use device intended to deliver a 6 mg dose of sumatriptan. Instruct patients on the proper use of the product prior their first use in a medically unsupervised situation. Since the injection is intended to be given subcutaneously, intramuscular or intravascular delivery must be avoided. Direct patients to use injection sites with an adequate skin and subcutaneous thickness to accommodate the length of the needle (e.g. lateral thigh or upper arms).
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility
In carcinogenicity studies, rats and mice were given sumatriptan by oral gavage (rats, 104 weeks) or drinking water (mice, 78 weeks). There was no evidence of an increase in tumors in either species related to sumatriptan administration.
Sumatriptan was not mutagenic when tested in the Ames test or the in vitro mammalian Chinese hamster V79/HGPRT assay. Sumatriptan was not clastogenic when tested in the in vitro human lymphocyte assay or the in vivo rat micronucleus assay.
Subcutaneous administration of sumatriptan to male and female rats prior to and throughout the mating period at doses approximately 50 times the maximum recommended human dose (MRHD) of 12 mg/day on a body surface area (mg/m²) basis produced no evidence of adverse effects on fertility. However, following oral administration, a treatment-related decrease in fertility, secondary to a decrease in mating, was seen for rats treated with 50 and 500 mg/kg/day. It is not clear whether the problem is associated with the treatment of males or females or both.
Use In Specific Populations
Pregnancy Category C
Sumatriptan produced evidence of developmental toxicity (embryolethality and increased incidences of fetal abnormalities) in rabbits. Embryolethality was observed at a dose less than the maximum recommended human dose (MRHD) of 12 mg/day on a body surface area (mg/m²) basis. There are no adequate and well-controlled studies of ALSUMA in pregnant women. ALSUMA should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.
When sumatriptan was administered intravenously to pregnant rabbits daily throughout the period of organogenesis, embryolethality was observed at doses at or close to those producing maternal toxicity. These doses were less than the MRHD of 12 mg/day on a mg/m² basis. Oral administration of sumatriptan to rabbits during organogenesis was associated with increased incidences of fetal vascular and skeletal abnormalities. The highest no-effect dose for these effects was 15 mg/kg/day. The intravenous administration of sumatriptan to pregnant rats throughout organogenesis at doses that are approximately 10 times the MRHD on a mg/m² basis, did not produce evidence of embryolethality. The subcutaneous administration of sumatriptan to pregnant rats prior to and throughout pregnancy did not produce evidence of embryolethality or teratogenicity.
Sumatriptan is excreted in human breast milk following subcutaneous administration. Therefore, caution should be exercised when considering the administration of ALSUMA to a nursing woman.
Safety and effectiveness of sumatriptan injection in pediatric patients under 18 years of age have not been established; therefore, sumatriptan injection is not recommended for use in patients under 18 years of age.
Two controlled clinical trials evaluating sumatriptan nasal spray (5 to 20 mg) in pediatric patients aged 12 to 17 years enrolled a total of 1,248 adolescent migraineurs who treated a single attack. The studies did not establish the efficacy of sumatriptan nasal spray compared to placebo in the treatment of migraine in adolescents. Adverse events observed in these clinical trials were similar in nature to those reported in clinical trials in adults.
Five controlled clinical trials (2 single-attack studies, 3 multiple-attack studies) evaluating oral sumatriptan (25 to 100 mg) in pediatric patients aged 12 to 17 years enrolled a total of 701 adolescent migraineurs. These studies did not establish the efficacy of oral sumatriptan compared to placebo in the treatment of migraine in adolescents. Adverse events observed in these clinical trials were similar in nature to those reported in clinical trials in adults. The frequency of all adverse events in these patients appeared to be both dose- and age-dependent, with younger patients reporting events more commonly than older adolescents.
Postmarketing experience documents that serious adverse events have occurred in the pediatric population after use of subcutaneous, oral, and/or intranasal sumatriptan. These reports include events similar in nature to those reported rarely in adults, including stroke, visual loss, and death. A myocardial infarction has been reported in a 14-year-old male following the use of oral sumatriptan; clinical signs occurred within 1 day of drug administration.
The use of ALSUMA in elderly patients is not recommended because they are more likely to have decreased hepatic function, they are at higher risk for CAD, and blood pressure increases may be more pronounced in the elderly. [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
Last reviewed on RxList: 4/26/2013
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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