Triptans are effective and well tolerated in acute migraine management but their exact mechanism of action is still debated. Triptans might exert their antimigraine effect by reducing the levels of circulating calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP). To examine this question, we examined whether sumatriptan modulate the baseline CGRP levels in vivo, under conditions without trigeminovascular system activation. We sampled blood from the internal and external jugular, the cubital veins, and the radial artery before and after administration of subcutaneous sumatriptan in 16 healthy volunteers. Repeated-measure ANOVA showed no interaction between catheter and time of sampling and thus no significant difference in CGRP between the four catheters (P=0.75). CGRP did not change over time in the four compartments (P>0.05). The relative changes in CGRP between baseline and maximal sumatriptan concentration did not differ between the four vascular compartments (P=0.49). It was found that Sumatriptan did not change the levels of circulating CGRP in the intra or extracerebral circulation in healthy volunteers. This speaks against a direct CGRP-reducing effect of sumatriptan in vivo in humans when the trigemino vascular system is not activated.
Keywords: Adult; Analysis of Variance; Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide; Cerebrovascular Circulation; Female; Humans; Injections, Subcutaneous; Male; Radioimmunoassay; Serotonin Agonists; Sumatriptan; Young Adult