CGRPs Are Making Migraine and Cluster Headache Treatment History

Patient Expert & Health Professional
Medically Reviewed

Have you heard about the new Migraine and cluster headache preventives in development? These calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) monoclonal antibodies have shown promising results in clinical trials. Doctors and patients impatiently wait for news amid rampant speculation about projected cost and accessibility. Concerns about insurance coverage and out-of-pocket expenses run deep.

Setting aside these practical concerns, there are still many reasons to remain hopeful. After all, these new medications will be the only treatments on the market specifically created to prevent both episodic and chronic Migraine and cluster headache. In fact, if approved, these drugs will be the first and only FDA-approved medications for the prevention of cluster headache.

Let that sink in for a moment. We are finally about to have access to medications made just for Migraine and cluster headache. These medications are not “off label.” We will have true Migraine and cluster headache treatments. For patients who’ve not had success with current treatments, this new class of preventives offers renewed hope.

Four new preventives

We have four pharmaceutical companies to thank for this. These medications are delivered by IV infusion, intramuscular injection, or subcutaneous injection; doses are given monthly or quarterly.

Familiarize yourself with their names. We’ll be seeing a lot of them in the coming years.

- Eptinezumab was developed by Alder Biopharmaceuticals and is being tested for episodic and chronic migraine.

- Erenumab was developed by Amgen, and is now partnering with Novartis for distribution and marketing. It is projected to be the first CGRP monoclonal antibody available by prescription sometime in 2018. Amgen submitted an application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on May 18, 2017.

- Fremanezumab was developed by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Ltd., and is being tested for the prevention of episodic Migraine, chronic Migraine, and cluster headache.

- Galcanezumab was developed by Eli Lilly and is being tested for episodic and chronic Migraine and cluster headache.

Encouraging results

So far, research findings on CGRPs include:

  • Reduced frequency of migraine attacks

  • Reduced use of Migraine abortives

  • Increased number of consecutive Migraine-free days

  • Relief of nausea, vomiting, phonophobia, and photophobia

  • Patient-reported improvements in quality of life

  • Improvements that occur within one week of the first dose

Adverse events were mild and similar to placebo; the most common side effect was injection site irritation.

See more helpful articles:

New Class of Migraine Preventives Raises Excitement and Hope

New CGRP Monoclonal Antibody Migraine Preventives - VIDEO

New CGRP Migraine Treatments in Development – March, 2016 Report

New CGRP Migraine Medications May Reach Market in 2018


59th Annual Scientific Meeting American Headache Society June 8 - 11, 2017 Westin Boston Waterfront Boston, MA. Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain, 57: 113–226. doi:10.1111/head.13102.