Active Ingredient History
Dihydroergotamine (DHE) is a semisynthetic, hydrogenated ergot alkaloid, synthesized by reducing an unsaturated bond in ergotamine. Dihydroergotamine was originally envisaged as an antihypertensive agent, but it was later shown to be highly effective in treating migraine. Dihydroergotamine was first used to treat migraine in 1945 by Horton, Peters, and Blumenthal at the Mayo Clinic. In 1986, Raskin and Callaham reconfirmed the effectiveness of DHE for both intermittent and intractable migraine. The use of DHE was reviewed by Scott in 1992. In 1997, a nasal spray version was approved for use in migraine. Dihydroergotamine is indicated for the acute treatment of migraine headaches with or without aura and the acute treatment of cluster headache episodes. Dihydroergotamine binds with high affinity to 5-HT1Dα and 5-HT1Dβ receptors. It also binds with high affinity to serotonin 5-HT1A, 5-HT2A, and 5-HT2C receptors, noradrenaline α2A, α2B and α, receptors, and dopamine D2L and D3 receptors. The therapeutic activity of dihydroergotamine in migraine is generally attributed to the agonist effect at 5-HT1D receptors. Two current theories have been proposed to explain the efficacy of 5-HT1D receptor agonists in migraine. One theory suggests that activation of 5-HT1D receptors located on intracranial blood vessels, including those on arterio-venous anastomoses, leads to vasoconstriction, which correlates with the relief of migraine headache. The alternative hypothesis suggests that activation of 5-HT1D receptors on sensory nerve endings of the trigeminal system results in the inhibition of proinflammatory neuropeptide release. NCATS
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