My Experience with Zembrace, the 3 mg Sumatriptan Injection
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I have written in the past about my current neurologist and how he likes to prescribe the newest available medications, which right now are newer forms of previously available medications. Last time it was Onzetra, the sumatriptan nasal powder. I didn’t like it. This time I went ahead and accepted his offer of the 3 mg sumatriptan injection, Zembrace, mainly because I was in such a bad situation I could barely communicate and I ended up in the ER six hours later. The jury is kind of still out on the new injection.

Testing a new injection

Recently I have been using the generic 6 mg injection, and the pharmacy was unable to locate the auto injector device that was supposed to come with the cartridges, which each hold two syringes without plungers. I used all sorts of straight narrow implements instead. Q-tips, tweezers, hair pins. It was kind of a relief, because I always pretty much hated auto-injectors – too forceful and hard to control. But when I used the Zembrace sample I received at the office, admittedly already in horrible shape, it wasn’t too bad. It was easy to use. Pull the red cap off, push it down onto the skin (thigh or upper arm for subcutaneous injection) and the needle disengages and injects. The pain of the injection isn’t too bad. Nothing like the Sumavel DosePro air injection, which I absolutely hated. The needle retracts on its own so you don’t have to pull it out, and it is deep within the auto-injector pen. Put the red cap back on and it’s done.

Simple and easy, and made me realize that I hadn’t been enjoying my do-it-yourself injection set up as much as I’d thought. I knew the first time I used it I was already too far gone, but I did get some fast lowering of my pain level. With the other medications I had on-hand, I was able to go to the ER for fluids my hospital cocktail and finish recovering at home. My biggest fear regarding my own health is that I will reach a high pain level and never be able to break it, and I had been at that panicky point twice that month already. It was a relief to succumb to the ER knowing ahead of time that I would be able to break the migraine, with their help. And I did.

Working it in with other medicine

My Disability Medicare did not cover the Zembrace. My pharmacy had to special order it, and when it arrived I used the coupon that guaranteed that 4 injections would cost only $25.00. I was told I was allowed 8 per month. Which is good, because even though the medicine works fast, 3 mg is often not enough to completely break the type of migraine I would be using an injection for. At lower pain levels, I would prefer to take tablets. So eventually it may seem like going back to the generic sumatriptan injection at the higher mg is the best bet.

In other news, I had a severe migraine at the end of last week and even though it had been exactly a month since my last ER visit (the one mentioned above) and I had expected to have to go, I was able to break it at home. I lost three days and used all four of the Zembrace injections I had over 48 hours, but I consider that a success. Small victories!

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2 comments on “My Experience with Zembrace, the 3 mg Sumatriptan Injection

  1. Tamara says:

    Hmmmm I’m not sure which injection I’ve had used on my own – thought there was only that air dose one (which hurts massively on me – please give me a vial and a normal needle instead!)

    I’ve been going to urgent care because Then I don’t have to pay for it (goes under Alberta health) otherwise I think they would be around $25 each covered. And since I’ve already $400 over my pay check each month then would add another $200 that I don’t have. My credit line will eventually run out and then I am out of options (someone please kill me before that, I really don’t have a plan about what to do).

    I’m going to ask though and maybe try some of these ( if they are available in Canada) didn’t know there are different injector types.

    I have used the imitrex nasal spray 20mg with good success …. its different than the other you described earlier though. It’s a one push thing that you hold with three fingers and plunge – no inhaling in or you get the worse bitter taste at the back of your throat.

    Thanks!

  2. Elizabeth Roberts-Zibbel moderator author says:

    Hi Tamara! Thanks for your comment. I agree 100% about the DosePro – what were they thinking?! Ouch! In the US, Zembrace was giving out a coupon for the first year of the prescription that lowered its cost to $25 for four, but my pharmacy hasn’t been able to make it work the last two times I filled it so I paid $240. I understand your frustration with trying to figure out how to financially manage medications! The one you have tried may be the genetic sumatriptan 6 mg.
    Take care!
    ~elizabeth

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