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Curr Pain Headache Rep. 2005 Jun;9(3):206-12.

Non-oral formulations of triptans and their use in acute migraine.

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Gothenburg Migraine Clinic, c/o Läkarhuset, Södra vägen 27, S-411 35 Gothenburg, Sweden.


The introduction of triptans (5-HT (1B/1D) agonists) into clinical practice has expanded the therapeutic options for doctors treating migraine sufferers. The triptans are available in several different formulations such as conventional oral tablets, orally disintegrating wafers, subcutaneous injections, nasal sprays, and suppositories, which provide an excellent opportunity to tailor therapy to individual patients' needs. Although the oral formulations are the most popular with patients, they are not the most appropriate route of administration for drug delivery during the migraine attack. Due to gastrointestinal dysmotility, the intestinal absorption of any triptan administered orally may be impaired and treatment effects become inconsistent. For this reason, triptans preferably should be prescribed in a non-oral formulation (injection, nasal spray, or suppository). Parenteral administration of a triptan is more likely to provide relief of symptoms, even when it is used later in the course of the migraine attack.

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