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CGRP: 5 Essentials to Know

CGRP: 5 Essentials to Know

Researchers are still searching to uncover the pathology that causes migraines, in hopes that by understanding how they develop, new treatments can interrupt the disease process and prevent migraines from occurring altogether. While the exact ways migraines occur and cause so much disabling pain remains unknown, scientists have identified a new potential target: calcitonin-gene-related peptide (CGRP). Here are five essential facts you need to know about CGRP:

1. A new target

CGRP is a small protein that acts as a neurotransmitter (a chemical messenger) that is found throughout the brain and body and is highly prevalent in the trigeminal system, the sensory nerves that supply the head and neck. Researchers discovered CGRP is found in high levels in migraine sufferers during an attack, providing a new target for pharmaceutical drugs to focus on. To target CGRP, pharmaceutical researchers have developed monoclonal antibodies, a type of biologic therapy that targets and neutralizes either CGRP or its receptors.1,2

2. Five products under investigation

There are currently five anti-CGRP treatments in development. Four have been submitted to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the fifth is in phase III clinical trials. Phase III clinical trials study a particular treatment in large numbers of patients (typically more than 300) to determine the effectiveness of a drug, as well as understand any potential side effects. Once Phase III clinical trials are completed, a pharmaceutical company can apply for drug approval with the FDA.1,3 The five anti-CGRP products in development are:

3. Promising results

All of the anti-CGRP drugs in development have shown promising results in earlier studies. As an example, 30% of patients receiving ALD403 had a 75% reduction in the number of days they experienced migraines over the course of a 12-week study. All of the anti-CGRP products are injectable – some are injected subcutaneously (under the skin) and others are injected intravenously (into a vein). ALD403 is delivered intravenously, and one injection can reduce migraine days for six months. And so far, the anti-CGRP drugs seem to be well tolerated, causing fewer side effects than other migraine treatments, like triptans. However, additional research is needed to understand any potential long-term adverse effects.1

4. Anticipated timing for availability

The phase III clinical trials have to be completed and the data must be analyzed before any application to the FDA can be made. Four of the anti-CGRP products have been submitted to the FDA. Ubrogepant is still in phase III clinical trials. Researchers are optimistic that we may see a new anti-CGRP product by the second half of 2018.1

5. Participate in research

While the clinical trial process is long and expensive, it is crucial for identifying effective and safe treatments. Many trials fail or are delayed because they do not have enough participants. Several of the anti-CGRP products under investigation are still recruiting participants. If you are interested in being a part of the research and receiving one of these new treatment options for preventing migraine, you can find a clinical trial at Search using one of the product names listed above to find which trials are still recruiting.



  • ninafranco
    7 months ago

    I started Aimovig about 2 weeks ago. It is a miracle!!!! I had morning migraines that I treated with sumatriptans and otc meds almost every day. I have had migraines to some extent for about 50 years. I can’t believe how good I feel. Chocolate was a major trigger I love chocolate but had been avoiding it for at least 20 years. I ate
    a chocolate bar on Monday.. and on Tuesday LOL!!!!!!

  • DonnaFA moderator
    7 months ago

    @ninafranco, that is exciting! Your joy is tangible, thanks so much for sharing it! I’m so glad to hear that you have experienced such dramatic relief – and a bonus 😀 Sending all good wishes for continued success, and much more chocolate in your future! -Warmly, Donna ( team)

  • migraineymama
    1 year ago

    Kaiser continually denied my doctor’s prescriptions for Aimovig as they made up new procedures and protocols as they went along. I finally received the ultimate and final no. Denied. Because of a certain other medication I am on. But Aimovig has many programs to help suffering patients get the medicine they need. I am now getting Aimovig directly from the manufacturer.

  • Lifetimegirl2000
    11 months ago

    Aimovig is leading the way to understand the thorn in my side, Migraines and I commend them for making the medicine available to sufferers who’s insurance or inability to pay not an issue. Thank you to Amgen and Novartis for leading the way

  • wappaw
    1 year ago

    Just starting Aimovig this week. I sure hope it works as advertised.

  • diane51
    1 year ago

    Does anyone know after having shot how long does it take to start to have an effect?

  • wappaw
    1 year ago

    My Neurologist said it could work right away or up to a month.

  • Macbeck
    2 years ago

    As a medicaid recipient I cannot participate in clinical trials (state rules). I also expect that they will not cover the cost of the new treatment. So very disappointing.

  • litoria76
    2 years ago

    I’m in the same boat with medicaid…

  • Timothy Bauer
    2 years ago

    To everyone the big issue will be insurance coverage.
    Treatments “could start” at $8,500 a year.
    Hopefully over time-the costs will go down.

    Timothy Jude Bauer
    Reno, Nevada

  • wappaw
    1 year ago

    I was able to qualify for a 5 dollar co-pay card.

  • esse
    2 years ago

    I have read that GCRP can increase blood pressure. Can’t remember where I viewed this – has anyone read a similar side effect?

  • wappaw
    1 year ago

    I have the Aimovig pamphlet in my hand. The top three listed Adverse Reactions are: ” Injection site reactions”, “Constipation”, and “Cramps, muscle spasms”.

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