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Tepper SJ, Rapoport AM, Sheftell FD. Mechanisms of Action of the 5-HT1B/1D Receptor Agonists. Arch Neurol. 2002;59(7):1084–1088. doi:10.1001/archneur.59.7.1084
Recent studies of the pathophysiology of migraine provide evidence that the headache phase is associated with multiple physiologic actions. These actions include the release of vasoactive neuropeptides by the trigeminovascular system, vasodilation of intracranial extracerebral vessels, and increased nociceptive neurotransmission within the central trigeminocervical complex. The 5-HT1B/1D receptor agonists, collectively known as triptans, are a major advance in the treatment of migraine. The beneficial effects of the triptans in patients with migraine are related to their multiple mechanisms of action at sites implicated in the pathophysiology of migraine. These mechanisms are mediated by 5-HT1B/1D receptors and include vasoconstriction of painfully dilated cerebral blood vessels, inhibition of the release of vasoactive neuropeptides by trigeminal nerves, and inhibition of nociceptive neurotransmission. The high affinity of the triptans for 5-HT1B/1D receptors and their favorable pharmacologic properties contribute to the beneficial effects of these drugs, including rapid onset of action, effective relief of headache and associated symptoms, and low incidence of adverse effects.
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