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J Fam Pract. 1993 Jan;36(1):85-91.

Recent advances in migraine management.

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  • 1Shealy Institute, Springfield, MO 65803.


Migraine periodically disables millions of Americans and thus has a significant economic impact on society. Successful treatment of migraine requires that the physician understand the pathophysiology underlying migraine and educate the migraineur in the management of this chronic pain syndrome. Recent advances in the receptor biochemistry of serotonin have given important insight into the mechanisms of migraine pain and treatment. An understanding of these mechanisms has resulted in treatment strategies that address the mechanism of headache control rather than just symptom control. Advances in pharmacologic therapy include a newly developed highly selective serotonin agonist called sumatriptan, which appears to be a promising addition to the armamentarium of abortive migraine treatments. Further data correlating the role of daily analgesics and ergotamines in transforming episodic migraine into chronic daily headache represent another significant advance in migraine management. Clinical trials of sumatriptan are reviewed, and the role of daily analgesic and ergotamine use is discussed in relation to advances in migraine pathophysiology and available demographic data on migraine.

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