Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide Modulators - The History and Renaissance of a New Migraine Drug Class

Richard Hargreaves, Jes Olesen


Several lines of evidence pointed to an important role for CGRP in migraine. These included the anatomic colocalization of CGRP and its receptor in sensory fibers innervating pain-producing meningeal blood vessels, its release by trigeminal stimulation, the observation of elevated CGRP in the cranial circulation during migraine with normalization concomitant with headache relief by sumatriptan, and translational studies with intravenous (IV) CGRP that evoked migraine only in migraineurs. The development of small molecule CGRP receptor antagonists (CGRP-RAs) that showed clinical antimigraine efficacy acutely and prophylactically in randomized placebo-controlled clinical trials subsequently gave definitive pharmacological proof of the importance of CGRP in migraine. More recently, CGRP target engagement imaging studies using a CGRP receptor PET ligand [11 C]MK-4232 demonstrated that there was no brain CGRP receptor occupancy at clinically effective antimigraine doses of telcagepant, a prototypic CGRP-RA. Taken together, these data indicated that (1) the therapeutic site of action of the CGRP-RAs was peripheral not central; (2) that IV CGRP had most likely evoked migraine through an action at sites outside the blood-brain barrier; and (3) that migraine pain was therefore, at least in part, peripheral in origin. The evolution of CGRP migraine science gave impetus to the development of peripherally acting drugs that could modulate CGRP chronically to prevent frequent episodic and chronic migraine. Large molecule biologic antibody (mAb) approaches that are given subcutaneously to neutralize circulating CGRP peptide (fremanezumab, galcanezumab) or block CGRP receptors (erenumab) have shown consistent efficacy and tolerability in multicenter migraine prevention trials and are now approved for clinical use. Eptinezumab, a CGRP neutralizing antibody given IV, shows promise in late stage clinical development. Recently, orally administered next-generation small molecule CGRP-RAs have been shown to have safety and efficacy in acute treatment (ubrogepant and rimegepant) and prevention (atogepant) of migraine, giving additional CGRP-based therapeutic options for migraine patients.

Udgave nummer6
Sider (fra-til)951-970
Antal sider20
StatusUdgivet - 2019


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