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Role of CGRP in Migraine

  • Lars EdvinssonEmail author
Part of the Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology book series


Migraine is a common neurological disorder that afflicts up to 15% of the adult population in most countries, with predominance in females. It is characterized by episodic, often disabling headache, photophobia and phonophobia, autonomic symptoms (nausea and vomiting), and in a subgroup an aura in the beginning of the attack. Although still debated, many researchers consider migraine to be a disorder in which CNS dysfunction plays a pivotal role while various parts of the trigeminal system are necessary for the expression of associated symptoms.

Treatment of migraine has in recent years seen the development of drugs that target the trigeminal sensory neuropeptide calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) or its receptor. Several of these drugs are now approved for use in frequent episodic and in chronic migraine. CGRP-related therapies offer considerable improvements over existing drugs, as they are the first to be designed specifically to act on the trigeminal pain system: they are more specific and have little or no adverse effects. Small molecule CGRP receptor antagonists, gepants, are effective for acute relief of migraine headache, whereas monoclonal antibodies against CGRP (Eptinezumab, Fremanezumab, and Galcanezumab) or the CGRP receptor (Erenumab) effectively prevent migraine attacks. The neurobiology of CGRP signaling is briefly summarized together with key clinical evidence for the role of CGRP in migraine headache, including the efficacy of CGRP-targeted treatments.


CGRP CGRP receptor Gepants Migraine Monoclonal antibodies 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Experimental Vascular Research, Department of Clinical SciencesLund UniversityLundSweden
  2. 2.Department of Clinical Experimental ResearchGlostrup Research Institute, Glostrup HospitalGlostrupDenmark

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