Skip to Accessibility Tools Skip to Content Skip to Footer

How Do CGRPs Work? Key and Lock Analogy

During the 60th Annual American Headache Society (AHS) Scientific Conference in San Francisco, I had the distinct pleasure of sitting down with Dr. David Dodick, professor of neurology and a headache specialist at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, Arizona. In part one of this interview, Dr. Dodick discussed the importance of setting realistic expectations on how this new treatment – CGRPs, may reduce migraine frequency. In part two of our discussion, Dr. Dodick explains how CGRP antibodies function like a key and a lock and how future forms of this medication are also promising.

The good news and the bad news

Dr. Dodick candidly explains, “The bad news is you have maybe a 1 in 5 chance of not responding in the right way… The good news is there’s more coming.” Based on his key and lock analogy, there’s hope for those who try the new treatment but may not respond to the “lock antibodies” as they may respond to the “key antibodies” that are developed in the future.

Join the discussion

Want to know how others living with migraine are doing with this new treatment? Check out the discussion in the forums section of the community or ask a question in the Q&A section.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • tlocker
    11 months ago

    I started on Aimovig six months ago and after 21 years of severe migraine had FABULOUS response; from 8-15 days/month to 2-4, and overall severity much lower. I felt like I had my LIFE back!
    But NOW my BC/BS Caremark/CVS pharmacy has decided they will no longer cover this one med (appeals denied 2x), and the “Ally” Amiovg program won’t help.
    So I am STUCK on an at LEAST three to six month journey to ‘clear’ current meds and am required to ‘fail’ on the other new ones before a possible return to the one that IS working.
    STUPID STUPID STUPID. Ask which meds your pharmacy covers BEFORE trying one, but know that’s no guarantee.

  • LesleyB
    11 months ago

    I started Ajovy in Dec. Had some immediate results, second month even better. Am on 3rd month now. Went from 26-28 migraines a month to 10, then 6. Now I only get them with extreme weather changes. Am due to try the Gammacore for the 6 or so I still get on Monday. Am hopeful with all these new treatments coming out.

  • Memphismama1
    12 months ago

    I was on Aimovig for 4 months last summer with very little help. After a month to clear the Aimovig I have been on Ajovy for the last 3 months with even less help. Am wondering if I didn’t try the Aimovig long enough or should I try the Emgality? Would I have to clear the Ajovy to start the Emgality or restart the Aimovig? So glad to hear that there is more coming!!

  • Katie M. Golden moderator author
    12 months ago

    Hi Memphismama1,
    I understand your confusion about what to do with all 3 CGRPs on the market.
    In talking with Dr. Doddick and other docs at AHS, the general consensus seemed to be that after 2 months, someone should start noticing a difference, but they should stick with it for 6 months before moving to another CGRP.

    However, we are in unchartered territories and there is no hard and fast rule. With a break after Ajovy, Emgality might be the way to go. You did give Aimovig 4 months, which is a decent length of time. But of course, talk to your doctor.

    I hope that helps you in your discussion with your doctor. Let us know how things are going!
    -Katie Moderator

  • wappaw
    1 year ago

    Just started Aimovig 11/8/2018. Hoping it will reduce the frequency of my migraines. I have been working in the yard which will normally cause shoulder, neck, and back pain; which triggers a migraine. So far the shoulder, neck, and back pain are present, but thankfully no migraine!

  • Mixi
    1 year ago

    It’s very encouraging to know that some new treatment will be available soon….. can’t be soon enough 😉

  • Poll