Migraine: current concepts and emerging therapies.Vascul Pharmacol. 2005 Sep; 43(3):176-87.VP
Migraine is a recurrent incapacitating neurovascular disorder characterized by attacks of debilitating pain associated with photophobia, phonophobia, nausea and vomiting. Migraine affects a substantial fraction of world population and is a major cause of disability in the work place. Though the pathophysiology of migraine is still unclear three major theories proposed with regard to the mechanisms of migraine are vascular (due to cerebral vasodilatation), neurological (abnormal neurological firing which causes the spreading depression and migraine) and neurogenic dural inflammation (release of inflammatory neuropeptides). The modern understanding of the pathogenesis of migraine is based on the concept that it is a neurovascular disorder. The drugs used in the treatment of migraine either abolish the acute migraine headache or aim its prevention. The last decade has witnessed the advent of Sumatriptan and the 'triptan' class of 5-HT1B/1D receptor agonists which have well established efficacy in treating migraine. Currently prophylactic treatments for migraine include calcium channel blockers, 5-HT2 receptor antagonists, beta adrenoceptor blockers and gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA) agonists. Unfortunately, many of these treatments are non specific and not always effective. Despite such progress, in view of the complexity of the etiology of migraine, it still remains undiagnosed and available therapies are underused. In this article, the diverse pieces of evidence that have linked the different theories of migraine with its pathophysiology are reviewed. Furthermore, the present therapeutic targets and futuristic approaches for the acute and prophylactic treatment of migraine, with a special emphasis to calcitonin gene-related peptide, are critically evaluated.