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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 69  |  Issue : 7  |  Page : 25--42

Acute Treatment of Migraine: What has Changed in Pharmacotherapies?

1 Department of Neurology, Kuang Tien General Hospital; Department of Nutrition, Huang-Kuang University, Taichung, Taiwan
2 Department of Anesthesiology, Mackay Memorial Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan
3 Center for Traditional Medicine, Neurological Institute, Taipei Veterans General Hospital; Faculty of Medicine, National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University; Institute of Traditional Medicine, National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University, Taipei, Taiwan
4 Department of Healthcare Administration, Asia University, Taichung, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan
5 Department of Neurology, Neurological Institute, Taipei Veterans General Hospital; National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University, School of Medicine; Brain Research Center, National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University, Taipei, Taiwan

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Shuu-Jiun Wang
Department of Neurology, Neurological Institute, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taipei - 11217
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0028-3886.315995

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Background: Migraine is the most prevalent neurological disorder and the leading cause of disability in individuals under 50 years of age. Two types of migraine therapies have been defined: acute therapy (abortive or symptomatic treatment), the purpose of which is to interrupt migraine attacks, and preventive treatment (prophylactic treatment), the purpose of which is to reduce the frequency and severity of migraine attacks. Objective: This paper reviews research advances in new agents for acute therapy of migraine. Material and Methods: This review provides an overview of emerging new drugs for acute treatment of migraine based on clinical evidence and summarizes the milestones of different stages of clinical development. Results: Two new formulations of sumatriptan, DFN-11 (3 mg doses of subcutaneous sumatriptan) and DFN-02 (a nasal spray of sumatriptan 10 mg and a permeation-enhancing excipient), have been developed, and both of them showed a fast-onset action with efficacy for acute treatment of migraine with fewer adverse events. New drug discovery programs shifted the focus to the development of ditans, a group of antimigraine drugs targeting 5-HT1F receptors. Only lasmiditan has progressed to phase III clinical trials and was finally approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for acute migraine treatment. The other target for acute therapy is CGRP receptor antagonists, namely, gepants. Ubrogepant and rimegepant demonstrated statistically significant efficacy, and both were recently approved by the FDA. These 5-HT1F receptor agonists and CGRP receptor antagonists did not cause vasoconstriction, offering advantages over the current mainstay of specific acute migraine treatment. Conclusions: Overall, these new agents have expanded the available acute therapies for migraine treatment and will likely change the strategy with which we treat patients with migraine in the future.


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