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Ther Clin Risk Manag. 2007 Jun;3(3):449-59.

Acute migraine: Current treatment and emerging therapies.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, LSU Health Sciences Center Shreveport, LA, USA.


Migraine is a common disabling primary headache disorder. Despite the need for a perfect treatment of this debilitating condition, the ideal "cure" eludes us. In 1992, the first triptan was released in the US for use in acute migraine. Triptans are more specific for the serotonin receptor 5-hydroxy triptamine (5-HT) 1 than previously prescribed drugs, such as ergotamines, with fewer side effects. This was an important first step in specific acute migraine therapy. Today however, triptans continue to be underutilized. There remains a concern, among practitioners and patients, about possible cardiovascular safety issues, despite the lack of strong evidence of serious adverse events. In fact, triptans now have a safe track record over more than a decade of use. Other perceived downfalls to use, include cost and variable efficacy. The more we learn about the clinical features and pathophysiology of migraine, the closer we are to finding a satisfactory monotherapy. Until then, recognizing that mixed mechanisms underlie migraine symptoms, rational polytherapy can be useful. Research on the roles of serotonin, calcitonin gene related peptide, glutamine and N-methyl-D-aspartate in the trigeminovascular system holds promise for those searching for the perfect migraine headache cure.


acute; migraine; pathophysiology; treatment

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