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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Acute treatment of migraine attacks.

Migraine is a chronic neurological disorder, characterized by attacks of severe, usually unilateral and throbbing headache accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and photophobia and photophobia. Sometimes transient neurological (aura) symptoms may precede or accompany the headaches. Acute drug therapy comprises nonspecific drugs, including simple analgesics and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, often in combination with antiemetics, and specific antimigraine drugs, such as ergotamine, dihydroergotamine and sumatriptan. Sumatriptan is a potent and selective serotonin1D receptor agonist, which can be administered orally and via the subcutaneous or intranasal route. The drug is well tolerated and is consistently highly effective in most patients. Significant limitations, however, include the occurrence of chest symptoms, suggestive of cardiac ischaemia; recurrence of the headache within 24 h after initial successful treatment; and in a minority of patients, abuse of sumatriptan with daily 'sumatriptan-dependent headaches'. Administration during the aura phase does not affect the aura itself, but is not recommended because the subsequent headache will not be prevented in that case. Preliminary data of new serotonin1D receptor agonists, such as 311C90 and MK-462 are promising in terms of increased efficacy after oral administration, but side-effect profile and incidence of headache recurrence are similar to those observed after the use of sumatriptan. Intranasal administration of dihydroergotamine may also be effective, but data are very limited.[1]


  1. Acute treatment of migraine attacks. Ferrari, M.D., Haan, J. Curr. Opin. Neurol. (1995) [Pubmed]
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