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FDA Approves 1st Skin Patch to Combat Migraines
Date:1/21/2013

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Jan. 21 (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 migraine sufferers can also experience severe bouts of nausea and vomiting.

Another expert described the problem this way.

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

A nasal spray 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
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