Headache induced by a nitric oxide donor (nitroglycerin) responds to sumatriptan. A human model for development of migraine drugs

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Experimental "vascular" headache in humans may be used in characterizing new migraine drugs. The effects of sumatriptan on nitroglycerin-(NTG)-induced headache and arterial responses were therefore studied. Following a double-blind randomized crossover design, 10 healthy volunteers received sumatriptan 6 mg s.c. or placebo succeeded by 20 min NTG (0.12 microgram/kg/min) infusion. Headache was rated on a 10 points scale. Temporal and radial artery diameters and velocity in the middle cerebral artery (MCA) were measured with ultrasound. Sumatriptan reduced the NTG-induced headache, median score 1.5 versus 4 after placebo (p < 0.01) and decreased temporal and radial artery diameters 75 +/- 3 and 86 +/- 3% of baseline respectively (p < 0.05). Blood velocity in the MCA was unaffected. The NTG model may prove to be a valuable tool in the development of future migraine drugs. The results suggest that NTG headache in non-migraineurs may share mechanisms with migraine headache.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCephalalgia : an international journal of headache
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)412-8
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1996

    Research areas

  • Adult, Blood Flow Velocity, Brain, Cross-Over Studies, Double-Blind Method, Female, Headache, Humans, Male, Nitric Oxide, Nitric Oxide Synthase, Nitroglycerin, Sumatriptan, Vascular Resistance, Vasoconstrictor Agents, Vasodilator Agents

ID: 128983912