Migraine Medication Telcagepant is Officially Dead

Last April I reported on Somebody Heal Me that drug manufacturer Merck was putting it’s troubled migraine treatment medication telcagepant through another clinical safety study.

Merck had withdrawn its FDA application for telcagepant in 2009 after a previous safety study showed patients taking it experienced elevated liver enzymes. Now telcagepant is officially dead.

Merck announced quietly last week in it’s quarterly earnings release that for the second time in two years it is dumping an acute migraine medication in development. (The other was MK-3207, which was also a CGRP receptor antagonist.) They did not specify precisely why they’ve given up on telcagepant, but it seems safe to assume it’s related to the known issues with elevation of patient liver enzymes.

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Telcagepant is part of a category of new migraine medications called CGRP (calcium gene-related peptide) receptor antagonists. These medications respond to the discovery that many patients experience a rise in CGRP levels during a migraine attack. These drugs are thought to be safe for people with cardiovascular problems who cannot safely use triptans such as Imitrex or Treximet for migraine treatment. A big difference between triptans and CGRP receptor antagonists is that triptans target serotonin, while CGRP receptor antagonists target CGRP. It is thought that CGRP receptor antagonists will have less side effects than triptans, but given the concerns about elevated liver enzymes in telcagepant it is unknown whether this will bear out.

Boehringer Ingelheim is also developing a CGRP receptor antagonist. Their drug olcegepant is in Phase II of development in the United States and Europe. According to researchers, olcegepant has demonstrated the capacity to block release of CGRP in animal models.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Migraine.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.
View References
Merck kills PhIII Drug Program | Calcium Gene-Related Peptide Receptor Antagonists in the Treatment of Migraine | Olcegepant: Novel Therapy for Acute Migraine | Migraine Drug Telcagepant to Undergo Another Clinical Safety Study | Telcagepant & The Future of Migraine Prevention


View Comments (8)
  • Ramona LeBon
    8 years ago

    thank you so much!

  • Ramona LeBon
    8 years ago

    my dr put me on a preventive medicine Amitriptyline 4 months ago, I am at 40 mg. it doesn’t seem to be working. Has anyone had any luck with this drug? I go back at the end of this month. I get a migraine every week that last for days :(.

  • Kostanca
    1 year ago

    Unfortunately I took it for six months and nothing happend except the 10 kg of waight I gained !!!Maybe it works on you .Good luck

  • Migraine.com
    8 years ago

    Hi Mona, Janet Geddis (aka The Migraine Girl) blogged about amitriptyline awhile back. You can read her post here: http://migraine.com/blog/notes-from-the-insomniac/ & http://migraine.com/blog/is-it-working/

    Someone else also mentioned it in our Patient Stories Forum: http://migraine.com/migraine-stories/preventative-migraine-meds-a-new-part-to-my-old-problem/

  • Karen Stanley Haack
    8 years ago

    Just say no to drugs! Drugs kill even pharmaceuticals….The side effects are worse then the benefits. Take generic tylenol since Johnson and Johnson can no longer be trusted they are making their medications overseas. No oversight… I am tired of watching all the johnson and johnson recalls.

  • Karen Stanley Haack
    8 years ago

    Praise the Lord, I hope every drug Merck developes is pulled from the market. Merck is not our friends they are communist thugs whose hope is to wipe out the entire world. Merck is not your friend. They’ve faked drug studies and came up with a big lie….A cancer vaccine called gardasil which is injuring and killing young people. Not to mention they are the murderers of young babies…..
    SIDS my butt. The vaccines kill your babies people wake up and follow the money trail…

  • Migraine.com
    8 years ago

    Karen-Please try to maintain a positive & supportive environment in the discussion forums here at Migraine.com. While we appreciate your participation over the past several months, maintaining a balanced learning environment is one of our top priorities. Repeatedly posting negative commentary is not conducive to creating a comfortable environment for the rest of the community members.

    Posts which do not comply with our Forum Rules can be deleted by our moderators (please visit http://migraine.com/forums/ for more information).

  • Karen Klein Crow
    8 years ago

    Karen, I am sorry that you have had so much bad luck with medications. I don’t know about the other followers here at migraine.com, but I for one am tired of reading your rants, which are filled with negativity. Do I like the fact that I rely on medications to help me with my migraines (as well as other conditions)? No, I don’t. However, if it weren’t for the medications, I would not be alive right now.

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