Why is the dopaminergic theory of migraine headache pathogenesis?

Updated: Oct 21, 2019
  • Author: Jasvinder Chawla, MD, MBA; Chief Editor: Helmi L Lutsep, MD  more...
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Some authors have proposed a dopaminergic basis for migraine. [22] In 1977, Sicuteri postulated that a state of dopaminergic hypersensitivity is present in patients with migraine. Interest in this theory has recently been renewed.

Some of the symptoms associated with migraine headaches, such as nausea, vomiting, yawning, irritability, hypotension, and hyperactivity, can be attributed to relative dopaminergic stimulation. Dopamine receptor hypersensitivity has been shown experimentally with dopamine agonists (eg, apomorphine). Dopamine antagonists (eg, prochlorperazine) completely relieve almost 75% of acute migraine attacks.

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