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Trends Pharmacol Sci. 2011 Jun;32(6):352-9. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2011 Apr 2.

Emerging migraine treatments and drug targets.

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Danish Headache Center & Department of Neurology, Glostrup Hospital, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Ndr. Ringvej 57, DK-2600 Glostrup, Denmark.


Migraine has a 1-year prevalence of 10% and high socioeconomic costs. Despite recent drug developments, there is a huge unmet need for better pharmacotherapy. In this review we discuss promising anti-migraine strategies such as calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) receptor antagonists and 5-hydroxytrypamine (5-HT)(1F) receptor agonists, which are in late-stage development. Nitric oxide antagonists are also in development. New forms of administration of sumatriptan might improve efficacy and reduce side effects. Botulinum toxin A has recently been approved for the prophylaxis of chronic migraine. Tonabersat, a cortical spreading depression inhibitor, has shown efficacy in the prophylaxis of migraine with aura. Several new drug targets such as nitric oxide synthase, the 5-HT(1D) receptor, the prostanoid receptors EP(2) and EP(4), and the pituitary adenylate cyclase receptor PAC1 await development. The greatest need is for new prophylactic drugs, and it seems likely that such compounds will be developed in the coming decade.

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