Targets for migraine treatment: beyond calcitonin gene-related peptide

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PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Despite the development of several medications for the acute and preventive treatment of migraine, there are still many patients in whom lack of efficacy, tolerability, interactions or contraindications make other options necessary. CGRP-based drugs have opened the door to a new era of migraine-targeted treatments. Beyond CGRP, there are other promising targets covered here. RECENT FINDINGS: For the acute treatment of migraine, 5-HT1F receptor agonists, ditans, are now available. Unlike triptans, 5-HT1B/1D receptor agonists, cardiovascular disease is not a contraindication for the use of ditans. The first study on a monoclonal antibody targeting PAC1 receptor was negative, although this may not be the end for the pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP) pathway as a target. SUMMARY: Following positive phase-III clinical trials, lasmiditan is the first ditan to be FDA-approved. PACAP has experimental evidence suggesting a role in migraine pathophysiology. As for CGRP, the presence of PACAP in key migraine structures along with positive provocative tests for both PACAP-38 and PACAP-27 indicate this pathway may still be a pharmacological target. Glutamate-based targets have long been considered in migraine. Two clinical trials with memantine, an NMDA-R antagonist, for the preventive treatment of migraine have now been published. The hypothalamus has also been implicated in migraine pathophysiology: the potential role of orexins in migraine is discussed. Acid-sensing ion channels, as well as amylin-blocking drugs, may also become migraine treatments in the future: more research is warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-372
Number of pages10
JournalCurrent opinion in neurology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021

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