FDA approves first skin patch to combat migraines

January 21, 2013 by Amanda Gardner, Healthday Reporter
FDA approves 1st skin patch to combat migraines
Zecuity treats headache and the nausea that can make it hard for some sufferers to swallow pills, experts say.

(HealthDay News) —A skin patch for the treatment of migraines, and the intense waves of nausea that often accompany these debilitating headaches, has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Called Zecuity, the patch contains sumatriptan, one of the most widely prescribed medications for migraines.

According to Dr. Fawad Khan, a neurologist with Ochsner Neuroscience Institute in New Orleans, few drugs are approved for the treatment of acute, symptomatic migraine. To complicate matters, many can also experience severe bouts of nausea and vomiting.

Another expert described the problem this way.

"I've had some where the was so bad they couldn't even swallow a pill," said Nancy Waltman, a with the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Nursing, Lincoln Division.

A is available, as is an injection, but many patients aren't comfortable with these options, Khan and Waltman noted.

Khan said the Zecuity patch is "simple, efficient and can deliver the exact amount of dosage with minimal variability."

The patch is attached to the upper arm or thigh, and when the patient pushes a button the drug is delivered through the skin. Zecuity, which is battery-operated, delivers 6.5 milligrams of sumatriptan over the course of about five hours and can relieve nausea, as well as reduce sensitivity to light and sound.

NuPathe Inc., which makes Zecuity, hopes to have the patch on the market later this year.

Research involving 800 patients ultimately led to the approval of Zecuity. One study found that 18 percent of patients using the patch were headache-free after two hours, compared with 9 percent of those using an inactive placebo. About half achieved a reduction in their headache after two hours, compared with 29 percent of those using the placebo.

And 84 percent of patients using the were relieved of their nausea, compared with 63 percent of those in the placebo group, according to a company news release.

The most frequent side effects were pain at the site of application along with tingling, itching, warmth and discomfort.

Patients with heart disease or who are using antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors should also be careful when taking sumatriptans, said Waltman, who added that she thought the patches "are wonderful."

One concern, though, is cost, Waltman cautioned.

It's not clear how much the patches will cost, but the class of medications known as triptans can be expensive, as much as $300 a month (although sumatriptan now has a generic version), Waltman said.

In general, though, "the more options that are available to migraine headache patients, the better," Waltman said. "Migraine patients tend to be underdiagnosed and undertreated and inappropriately treated."

NuPathe CEO Armando Anido told Bloomberg News, "We anticipate the product will be available for sale in the fourth quarter of this year."

Explore further: Botox injections associated with only modest benefit for chronic migraine and daily headaches

More information: The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about migraines.

Related Stories

Botox injections associated with only modest benefit for chronic migraine and daily headaches

April 24, 2012
Although botulinum toxin A ("Botox") injections are U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved for preventive treatment for chronic migraines, a review and analysis of previous studies finds a small to modest benefit for ...

Drug patch approved for advanced Parkinson's and restless leg syndrome

April 3, 2012
(HealthDay) -- The Neupro (rotigotine) transdermal system has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat advanced Parkinson's disease and moderate-to-severe restless leg syndrome, the Belgian drug maker ...

Recommended for you

Google searches can be used to track dengue in underdeveloped countries

July 20, 2017
An analytical tool that combines Google search data with government-provided clinical data can quickly and accurately track dengue fever in less-developed countries, according to new research published in PLOS Computational ...

MRSA emerged years before methicillin was even discovered

July 19, 2017
Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) emerged long before the introduction of the antibiotic methicillin into clinical practice, according to a study published in the open access journal Genome Biology. It was ...

New test distinguishes Zika from similar viral infections

July 18, 2017
A new test is the best-to-date in differentiating Zika virus infections from infections caused by similar viruses. The antibody-based assay, developed by researchers at UC Berkeley and Humabs BioMed, a private biotechnology ...

'Superbugs' study reveals complex picture of E. coli bloodstream infections

July 18, 2017
The first large-scale genetic study of Escherichia coli (E. coli) cultured from patients with bloodstream infections in England showed that drug resistant 'superbugs' are not always out-competing other strains. Research by ...

Ebola virus can persist in monkeys that survived disease, even after symptoms disappear

July 17, 2017
Ebola virus infection can be detected in rhesus monkeys that survive the disease and no longer show symptoms, according to research published by Army scientists in today's online edition of the journal Nature Microbiology. ...

Mountain gorillas have herpes virus similar to that found in humans

July 13, 2017
Scientists from the University of California, Davis, have detected a herpes virus in wild mountain gorillas that is very similar to the Epstein-Barr virus in humans, according to a study published today in the journal Scientific ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.