In the Future, Nasal Sprays May Help Treat Migraines

Man touching forehead, suffering headache.
Photo: 169/George Marks/Corbis

When you’re constantly exposed to new research in the pipeline, “I wish we had that now!” is a pretty frequent response, whether the “thing” in question is a promising new cancer treatment or magic (okay, not actually magic) vibrating shoes to keep old people upright. Given how painful it’s been watching some friends and family members struggle with migraines, I had a very strong version of that when I encountered the news that a nasal-spray treatment is in the works.

To the press release:

Researchers are developing a novel prochlorperazine nasal spray formulation as a potential new treatment for migraines. This work is being presented at the 2014 American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) Annual Meeting and Exposition, the world’s largest pharmaceutical sciences meeting, in San Diego, Nov. 2–6.

Venkata Yellepeddi, Ph.D., along with his colleagues from Roseman University of Health Sciences, developed a preservative-free device-driven prochlorperazine nasal spray that could prove useful for compounding pharmacists specifically in the field of pain medicine. “Prochloperazine is a dopamine receptor antagonist that is widely used as an anti-nausea medication. Comparative clinical studies have shown that prochloperazine provides better pain relief than other anti-migraine drugs such as sumatriptan, metoclopramide, and ketorolac,” said Yellepeddi. “Currently, there are no marketed nasal spray formulations of prochlorperazine available for the treatment of migraine. Prochlorperazine is only available in tablet form, which has delayed onset of action.” Yellepeddi and his team hypothesize that a nasal spray version of prochlorperazine will not only be effective, but fast acting and have better patient compliance overall.

You won’t find anything like this being offered by doctors tomorrow, unfortunately: “The next stage of Yellepeddi’s research is to test the safety, efficacy, and pharmacokinetic studies of the prochlorperazine nasal spray in rat animal models.” Hurry up, science.

Nasal Sprays May Treat Migraines in the Future