, Volume 378, Issue 4, pp 371-394,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 15 Jul 2008

Current and prospective pharmacological targets in relation to antimigraine action

Abstract

Migraine is a recurrent incapacitating neurovascular disorder characterized by unilateral and throbbing headaches associated with photophobia, phonophobia, nausea, and vomiting. Current specific drugs used in the acute treatment of migraine interact with vascular receptors, a fact that has raised concerns about their cardiovascular safety. In the past, α-adrenoceptor agonists (ergotamine, dihydroergotamine, isometheptene) were used. The last two decades have witnessed the advent of 5-HT1B/1D receptor agonists (sumatriptan and second-generation triptans), which have a well-established efficacy in the acute treatment of migraine. Moreover, current prophylactic treatments of migraine include 5-HT2 receptor antagonists, Ca2+ channel blockers, and β-adrenoceptor antagonists. Despite the progress in migraine research and in view of its complex etiology, this disease still remains underdiagnosed, and available therapies are underused. In this review, we have discussed pharmacological targets in migraine, with special emphasis on compounds acting on 5-HT (5-HT1–7), adrenergic (α1, α2, and β), calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP1 and CGRP2), adenosine (A1, A2, and A3), glutamate (NMDA, AMPA, kainate, and metabotropic), dopamine, endothelin, and female hormone (estrogen and progesterone) receptors. In addition, we have considered some other targets, including gamma-aminobutyric acid, angiotensin, bradykinin, histamine, and ionotropic receptors, in relation to antimigraine therapy. Finally, the cardiovascular safety of current and prospective antimigraine therapies is touched upon.