European Journal of Clinical Pharmacology

, Volume 47, Issue 6, pp 543–548

Single dose pharmacokinetics of sumatriptan in healthy volunteers

  • L. F. Lacey
  • E. K. Hussey
  • P. A. Fowler
Pharmacokinetics and Disposition


Sumatriptan is classified as a vascular 5HT1 receptor agonist and is effective in the acute treatment of migraine and cluster headache. Sumatriptan is available as an injection for subcutaneous administration and as a tablet for oral administration. The pharmacokinetics of sumatriptan differ depending on the route of administration.

The mean subcutaneous bioavilability is 96% compared to 14% for the oral tablet. The lower bioavailability following oral administration is due mainly to presystemic metabolism. The inter-subject variability in plasma sumatriptan concentrations is greater following oral administration and a faster rate of absorption of drug into the systemic circulation is achieved following subcutaneous dosing. The pharmacokinetics of sumatriptan are linear up to a subcutaneous dose of 16 mg. Following oral dosing up to 400 mg, the pharmacokinetics are also linear, with the exception of rate of absorption, as indicated by a dose dependent increase in time to peak concentration.

Sumatriptan is a highly cleared compound that is eliminated from the body primarily by metabolism to the pharmacologically inactive indoleacetic acid analogue. Both sumatriptan and its metabolite are excreted in the urine. Although the renal clearance of sumatriptan is only 20% of the total clearance, it exceeds the glomerular filtration rate, indicating that sumatriptan undergoes active renal tubular secretion. Sumatriptan has a large apparent volume of distribution (170 1) and an elimination half-life of 2 h.

Oral doses of sumatriptan were administered as a solution of dispersible tablets and subcutaneous dosing was by injection into the arm. In clinical practice, sumatriptan is administered as a film coated tablet or by subcutaneous injection into the thigh.

Key words

Sumatriptan pharmacokinetics single dose bioavailability dose proportionality healthy volunteers 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. F. Lacey
    • 1
  • E. K. Hussey
    • 2
  • P. A. Fowler
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Clinical PharmacokineticsGlaxo Research and Development Ltd.GreenfordUK
  2. 2.Department of Clinical PharmacologyGlaxo Inc.Research Triangle ParkUSA
  3. 3.Department of Clinical Pharmacology and DynamicsGlaxo Research and Development Ltd.WareUK

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