Migraine is a highly disabling neurological pain disorder in which management is frequently problematic. Most abortive and preventative treatments employed are classically non-specific, and their efficacy and safety and tolerability are often unsatisfactory. Mechanism-based therapies are, therefore, needed. Calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) is recognized as crucial in the pathophysiology of migraine, and new compounds that target the peptide have been increasingly explored in recent years. First tested were CGRP receptor antagonists; they proved effective in acute migraine treatment in several trials, but were discontinued due to liver toxicity in long-term administration.
Calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) is a 37-amino-acid neuropeptide whose involvement in migraine pathophysiology is well established. Originally migraine was believed to be a disease of the vasculature, but research has highlighted this to be a disease of the brain with CGRP playing an important role. While targeting CGRP using small molecule antagonists against the receptor has been effective, long-term use of these agents has not been possible due to safety concerns and/or formulation challenges.