Alsuma™ (sumatriptan injection)

Alsuma was approved in June of 2010 for the acute treatment of migraine, with or without aura, as well as the acute treatment of cluster headache episodes. Alsuma belongs to the triptan class of medications, and there is no generic substitute available.

What is the ingredient in Alsuma?

Alsuma contains the active ingredient sumatriptan, a 5HT receptor agonist.

How does Alsuma work?

As with other triptans, Alsuma works by narrowing the blood vessels in the brainstem and may help with migraine symptoms including head pain, nausea, sensitivity to light and sensitivity to sound. Triptans works best if they are taken as soon as migraine symptoms appear. Medications indicated for acute treatment cannot be taken to prevent the onset of a migraine attack.

What are the possible side effects of Alsuma?

In controlled clinical trials, the most common side effects noticed by patients taking Alsuma included:

  • Injection site reactions (bruising, pain)
  • Tingling, warm or burning sensations
  • Feeling of heaviness
  • Feeling a sensation of pressure
  • Feeling of tightness
  • Feeling strange
  • Tightness in the head or chest
  • Flushing
  • Discomfort in the nose, sinuses, or jaw
  • Dizziness/vertigo
  • Feeling tired and/or drowsy
  • Headache

Some people may experience serious side effects with sumatriptan. If you experience chest pain, tightness or pressure which feels like it is spreading to the neck and jaw, seek medical attention immediately. Serious cardiac events, including heart attack, can occur with Alsuma. Other rare but serious side effects that may occur with Alsuma use are stroke, gastrointestinal bleeding, Raynaud’s syndrome, an increase in blood pressure, a severe allergic reaction (hypersensitivity), seizures, or a potentially life-threatening serotonin syndrome, particularly when used in combination with certain antidepressant medications.

Things to know about Alsuma

Alsuma should not be used by people with the following conditions:

  • Ischemic heart disease
  • Coronary artery vasospasm
  • Other significant cardiovascular (heart) disease
  • Uncontrolled high blood pressure (hypertension)
  • History of stroke or transient ischemic attacks (TIAs)
  • Peripheral vascular disease, including ischemic bowel disease
  • Hemiplegic or basilar migraine
  • Known allergy to sumatriptan

Tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are taking antidepressants as your dose may need to be altered to avoid serious side effects. Talk to your doctor about all medications, herbal supplements, and vitamins you take.

The safety and effectiveness of Alsuma in children under 18 has not been assessed, and Alsuma is not recommended for use in geriatric patients.

Do not take Alsuma within 24 hours of of any ergotamine-containing or ergot-type medication or another 5-HT1 agonist (another triptan).

If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or plan to become pregnant or breastfeed, talk to your doctor about using Alsuma. Alsuma may cause damage to a child in the womb and can pass into breastmilk.

Dosing information

Alsuma comes in a disposable, prefilled auto-injector which contains one dose of 6 mg. Alsuma should be injected under the skin (subcutaneously), such as in the upper arm or the side of the thigh. The maximum recommended dose in 24 hours is two injections separated by at least 1 hour.

For more information, read the full prescribing information of Alsuma.

Written by: Emily Downward | Last review date: July 2018
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