Emerging Targets in Migraine
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Migraine is a common and highly disabling neurological disorder. Despite the complexity of its pathophysiology, substantial advances have been achieved over the past 20 years in its understanding, as well as the development of pharmacological treatment options. The development of serotonin 5-HT1B/1D receptor agonists (“triptans”) substantially improved the acute treatment of migraine attacks. However, many migraineurs do not respond satisfactorily to triptans and cardiovascular co-morbidities limit their use in a significant number of patients. As migraine is increasingly considered to be a disorder of the brain, and preclinical and clinical data indicate that the observed vasodilation is merely an epiphenomenon, research has recently focused on the development of neurally acting compounds that lack vasoconstrictor properties. This review highlights the most important pharmacological targets for which compounds have been developed that are highly likely to enter or have already advanced into clinical trials for the acute and preventive treatment of migraine. In this context, preclinical and clinical data on compounds acting on calcitonin gene-related peptide or its receptor, the 5-HT1F receptor, nitric oxide synthase, and acid-sensing ion channel blockers are discussed.