The 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) receptor family mediates the effects of several drugs highly effective in migraine primarily by activating 5-HT 1B, 5-HT1D, and 5-HT1F receptors. Ergotamine, dihydroergotamine, and methysergide, as well as the "triptan" sumatriptan, are all agonists for these receptors. The receptor profile and degree of selectivity of these four drugs differ, which is reflected by their side effects that limit their use in the acute and prophylactic treatment of migraine. The acute antimigraine efficacy of these remedies is very much dependent on the formulation used where, in general, parenteral formulations are more effective in reliving the symptoms of a migraine attack.

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Headache: the journal of head and face pain
Department of Internal Medicine

Dahlöf, C, & Maassen van den Brink, A. (2012). Dihydroergotamine, ergotamine, methysergide and sumatriptan - Basic science in relation to migraine treatment. Headache: the journal of head and face pain (Vol. 52, pp. 707–714). doi:10.1111/j.1526-4610.2012.02124.x