|Trade names||D.H.E. 45, Migranal, others|
|Other names||DHE; (5'α)-9,10-Dihydro-12'-hydroxy-2'-methyl-5'-(phenylmethyl)-ergotaman-3',6',18-trione|
|Main uses||Migraines, cluster headaches|
|Side effects||High blood pressure, flushing, myocardial ischemia, stroke, ergotism|
|Nasal spray, SC, IM, IV|
|Onset of action||Within 5 min (IV), About 30 min (IN)|
|Bioavailability||32% (nasal spray)|
|Elimination half-life||9 hours|
|Chemical and physical data|
|Molar mass||583.689 g·mol−1|
|3D model (JSmol)|
Dihydroergotamine (DHE), sold under the brand name Migranal among others, is a medication used to treat migraines, cluster headaches, and medication overuse headaches. It has a particular benefit in hard to treat migraines. It may be used as a nasal spray or by injection. Onset is within 5 to 30 minutes.
Common side effects include high blood pressure, flushing, sweating, and nausea. Other side effects may include myocardial ischemia, stroke, arrhythmia, and ergotism. Use is not recommended during pregnancy, in those with liver or kidney problems, or those with vascular disease. It is a derivative of ergotamine. It activates serotonin receptors as well as dopamine and adrenergic receptors.
Dihydroergotamine was first made in 1943 and has been in medical use since. It is available as a generic medication. In the United States it costs about 45 USD per dose by injection and 370 USD per dose in the nose as of 2021. As of the 2010s it is less commonly used than triptans.
Subcutaneous and intramuscular injections are generally more effective than the nasal spray and can be self-administered. Intravenous injection is considered very effective for severe migraine or status migrainosus. DHE is also used in the treatment of medication overuse headache.
It may be used as a 1 mg intravenous or intramuscular dose, with this repeated after 1 hour if not effective.
When used in the nose a 0.5 mg spray is given in each nostril, which may be repeated in 15 minutes if needed.
Nausea is a common side effect of IV administration and less common in other modes. Antiemetics can be given prior to DHE to counteract the nausea. Risks and contraindications are similar to the triptans. DHE and triptans should never be taken within 24 hours of each other due to the potential for coronary artery vasospasm. DHE produces no dependence.
|Site||Affinity (Ki/IC50 [nM])||Efficacy (Emax [%])||Action|
|Notes: All receptors are human except 5-HT3 (rat/mouse), 5-HT4 (guinea pig), 5-HT5B (rat—no human counterpart), α1A-adrenergic (rat/human), and α2A-adrenergic (rat/human).|
Oral bioavailability is poor and it is not available in oral form in the US. DHE is available as a nasal spray and in ampules for subcutaneous, intramuscular and intravenous injection. Efficacy is variable in the nasal spray form with relative bioavailability of 32% compared to injection.
Dihydroergotamine (DHE) is a semi-synthetic form of ergotamine approved in the US in 1946.
Society and culture
Brand names of DHE include Diergo, Dihydergot, D.H.E. 45, Ergont, Ikaran, Migranal, Orstanorm, and Seglor, among others.
In 2013 the European Medicines Agency’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) has recommended that medicines containing ergot derivatives no longer be used to treat several conditions involving problems with memory, sensation or blood circulation, or to prevent migraine headaches because the risks (increased risk of fibrosis and ergotism).
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- Restrictions on use of medicines containing ergot derivatives (EMA 2013) Archived 2018-06-20 at the Wayback Machine, Retrieved 3 August 2014
- DHE prescribing information Archived 2021-04-11 at the Wayback Machine
- Migranal prescribing information Archived 2021-04-27 at the Wayback Machine