Literature Review

Trial finds that intranasal DHE is well tolerated and may reduce migraine symptoms


From Headache

Intranasal dihydroergotamine mesylate (DHE) may provide safe and effective migraine relief, a new study suggests.

A phase 3, open-label trial of INP104, or Trudhesa – Impel NeuroPharma’s proprietary Precision Olfactory Delivery of DHE – found that most patients experienced symptom relief within 2 hours and reported that the medication was easy to use and preferable to their current therapy.

Another treatment option?

Of about 18 million diagnosed migraine patients in the United States, 4 million receive prescription treatment. Nearly 80% of migraine therapies involve triptans, but 30%-40% of patients don’t find adequate relief with triptans. Moreover, the majority of patients who do respond to triptans report that they’d like to try a different therapy.

“INP104 has the potential to deliver rapid symptom relief, without injection, that is well tolerated and suitable for outpatient us,” lead author Timothy Smith, MD, of StudyMetrix Research, St. Louis, and colleagues wrote in the paper.

The results were published online Aug. 7 in Headache.

A total of 360 patients aged 18-65 years with a diagnosis of migraine with or without aura with at least two attacks per month over the course of the previous 6 months were enrolled in the 24-week safety study, which had a 28-week extension period. Participants used their “best usual care” to treat their migraines during the initial 28-day screening period. Afterward, they were given 1.45-mg doses of INP04 to self-administer into the upper nasal space to treat self-recognized attacks. No more than two doses per 24 hours and three doses per 7 days were allowed. The Full Safety Set analysis comprised 354 patients who dosed at least once. The Primary Safety Set involved 185 patients who administered an average of two or more doses per 28-day period during the 24-week treatment period. A total of 4,515 self-recognized migraines were treated during the 24-week period; 6,332 doses of INP04 were analyzed.

Nearly 37% (130/354) of patients reported treatment-emergent adverse events (TEAEs); 6.8% (24/354) discontinued treatment because of the TEAEs over the 24 weeks. The most common TEAE was nasal congestion (15%, 53/354), followed by nausea (6.8%, 24/354).

Within an hour of INP104 administration, 47.6% of patients reported pain relief. After 2 hours of INP104 administration, 38% reported pain freedom and 66.3% reported pain relief. Headache recurrence was observed in 7.1% and 14.3% of patients at 24 and 48 hours, respectively.

In a questionnaire, 84% of patients agreed or strongly agreed that INP04 was easy to use. Most reported that INP104 slowed the recurrence of their migraines and was more rapidly and consistently effective than their previous best usual care treatment.

Intranasal delivery of DHE was developed in response to the challenges of traditional IV administration.

“While intravenous (IV) dihydroergotamine (DHE) mesylate has a long, established history as an effective migraine therapy, its use as an acute treatment can be limited by the high rate of nausea and vomiting reported by patients, which often requires pretreatment with antiemetics,” Dr. Smith and colleagues wrote. “Furthermore, IV DHE mesylate needs to be administered in emergency room settings or by headache specialists, limiting convenience.”


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