Introduction: The development of sumatriptan, more than 20 years ago, added substantially to the characterization of 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) receptors and their relevance to acute migraine therapy. Recently, 5-HT1F receptor agonists, with no vascular effects, have shown efficacy in the treatment of migraines. Areas covered: This evaluation reviews the recent advances in acute migraine therapy targeting the 5-HT receptor. Specifically, the authors review the pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, clinical efficacy and safety of 5-HT1F receptor agonists and new formulations of sumatriptan and dihydroergotamine (DHE). Expert opinion: Lasmiditan, a non-vascular acting 5-HT1F receptor agonist, is effective in migraine but causes central nervous system-related adverse events, which may considerably limit its clinical use. The efficacy of transdermal sumatriptan is too low for general use in migraine. Intranasal sumatriptan powder could be a step forward compared with oral sumatriptan, but comparative trials are needed. Orally inhaled DHE has a very quick systemic absorption but the onset of effect in migraine is relatively slow with a maximum effect after 2 h. In contrast, orally inhaled DHE results in a low incidence of recurrence. None of these reviewed treatments are likely to fulfill patients' expectations, and the advancement of acute migraine drugs should likely depend on different mechanisms from current 5-HT-related drugs.
Journal review article
Expert Opinion on Investigational Drugs, 2014, Vol 23, Issue 3, p. 375-385