Study suggests long-term Sumatriptan use does not cause serious adverse events

The April 2016 issue of Value Based Care in Neurology features an article that highlights a study concluding that the long-term use of Sumatriptan does not lead to any serious adverse events. 

You can find the full article below.

Study Examines Serious Adverse Events with Long-term Sumatriptan in Patients with Chronic Cluster Headache

Chronic cluster headache is a rare, debilitating condition in which some patients continue to have daily attacks even with medication. Individuals with drug-resistant chronic cluster headache use abortive agents, mainly subcutaneous sumatriptan injection, multiple times daily and for long periods; however, the recommended maximum dose is 2 injections (12 mg) daily. Little is known about the risk for serious adverse events (AEs) when the drug is used 2 times daily long-term. In a new study, researchers investigated the occurrence of serious AEs in 52 patients with chronic cluster headache using sumatriptan 2 times daily for at least 2 years (Leone M, Proietti Cecchini A. Neurology. 2016;86:194-195).

During the study, all patients were carefully followed with regular visits, and the frequency of headaches and sumatriptan use were recorded in diaries. All patients needed the full 6-mg dose of sumatriptan. Electrocardiogram was obtained at least twice at 6-month to 18-month intervals. Serious AEs, including angina and any vascular evert, were recorded. Patients had no history of vascular disorders.

The researchers did not observe any serious AEs, and no patients required the discontinuation of sumatriptan in the 2-year study period. No electrocardiogram abnormalities were detected. The patients in the study took more than their prescribed dose of sumatriptan, despite their physician fully explaining the additional risks of smoking while taking the medication; the majority of patients reported smoking more than 10 cigarettes daily. At the end of the study 42% of patients noticed a subjective certain reduction of sumatriptan efficacy in terms of latency to efficacy and on pain intensity; however, they still considered the agent their first choice to treat their chronic cluster headaches.

The study provides evidence that in well-selected patients with chronic cluster headache long-term daily sumatriptan injection for 2 years did not cause serious AEs; the findings are in line with observations from previous studies with shorter time periods. Additional data are needed to investigate serious AEs attributable to the long-term daily use of sumatriptan, with a main focus on prophylaxis, because sumatriptan overdose can increase the frequency of chronic cluster headaches.

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