Migraines are a common and debilitating condition that affects millions of people worldwide. In Australia, it is estimated that around 3 million people experience migraines, with women being more affected than men. The search for effective treatments for migraines has led to the development of a new class of drugs known as CGRP inhibitors.
Calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) is a protein that is involved in the process of inflammation and is thought to play a role in the development of migraines. CGRP inhibitors work by blocking the action of CGRP and have been shown to be effective in reducing the frequency and severity of migraines.
The first CGRP inhibitor to be approved for the treatment of migraines in Australia is erenumab (Aimovig). This drug is a monoclonal antibody that binds to the CGRP receptor, preventing CGRP from binding and activating it. Erenumab has been shown to reduce the number of migraines per month by up to 50% in people with episodic migraines and by up to 75% in people with chronic migraines.
Another CGRP inhibitor, fremanezumab (Ajovy), was also approved for the treatment of migraines in Australia in 2019. This drug is also a monoclonal antibody, but it binds to and neutralizes CGRP itself.
Another CGRP inhibitor, galcanezumab (Emgality) was approved for use in Australia in 2020. This drug is also a monoclonal antibody, but it binds to and neutralizes CGRP itself.
These CGRP inhibitors have been shown to be well-tolerated with a low risk of side effects.
The most common side effects are mild and include injection site reactions and flu-like symptoms. There are of course other less common more severe reactions.
CGRP inhibitors represent a new and exciting treatment option for people with migraines. They have been shown to be effective in reducing the frequency and severity of migraines and have a good safety profile. If you are experiencing migraines and are interested in trying a CGRP inhibitor, talk to your Headache Neurology Specialist to see if it is right for you.