Background: Isometheptene is a sympathomimetic drug effective in acute migraine treatment. It is composed of two enantiomers with diverse pharmacological properties. This study investigated in pithed rats the cardiovascular effects of (S)- isometheptene and (R)-isometheptene, and the pharmacological profile of the more potent enantiomer. Methods: The effects of i.v. bolus injections (0.03, 0.1, 0.3, 1 and 3 mg/kg) of isometheptene racemate, (S)-isometheptene or (R)-isometheptene on heart rate and blood pressure were analyzed in control experiments. The enantiomer producing more pronounced tachycardic and/or vasopressor responses was further analyzed in rats receiving i.v. injections of prazosin (0.1 mg/kg), rauwolscine (0.3 mg/kg), propranolol (1 mg/kg) or intraperitoneal reserpine (5 mg/kg, -24 h). Results: Compared to (R)-isometheptene, (S)-isometheptene produced greater vasopressor responses, whilst both compounds equipotently increased heart rate. The tachycardic responses to (S)-isometheptene were abolished after propranolol, but remained unaffected by the other antagonists. In contrast, the vasopressor responses to (S)-isometheptene were practically abolished after prazosin. Interestingly, after reserpine, the tachycardic responses to (S)-isometheptene were abolished, whereas its vasopressor responses were attenuated and subsequently abolished by prazosin. Conclusions: The different cardiovascular effects of the isometheptene enantiomers are probably due to differences in their mechanism of action, namely: (i) a mixed sympathomimetic action for (S)-isometheptene (a tyramine-like action and a direct stimulation of α1-adrenoceptors); and (ii) exclusively a tyramine like action for (R)-isometheptene. Thus, (R)-isometheptene may represent a superior therapeutic benefit as an antimigraine agent.

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Keywords Adrenoceptors, Enantiomers, Isometheptene, Rats, Vasopressor
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Journal Journal of Headache and Pain
Labastida-Ramírez, A. (Alejandro), Rubio-Beltrán, E. (Eloísa), Hernández-Abreu, O. (Oswaldo), Daugherty, B.L. (Bruce L.), Maassenvandenbrink, A, & Villalón, C.M. (2017). Pharmacological analysis of the increases in heart rate and diastolic blood pressure produced by (S)-isometheptene and (R)-isometheptene in pithed rats. Journal of Headache and Pain, 18(1). doi:10.1186/s10194-017-0761-y