Calcitonin gene-related peptide receptor antagonists are effective acute migraine treatments without the vascular contraindications associated with triptans. While it has been demonstrated that calcitonin gene-related peptide receptor antagonists act in the central nervous system, their effects in preclinical migraine models have been investigated in only the trigeminocervical complex. Migraine is a complex neurological disorder; sites in the brainstem and forebrain are clearly involved in its expression. We have performed electrophysiological recordings in thalamic neurons of rats responding to nocioceptive trigeminovascular inputs and tested the effect of olcegepant, a calcitonin gene-related peptide receptor antagonist (1 mg/kg, intravenously), on cell firing. We further tested the effect of microiontophoresed calcitonin gene-related peptide and the receptor antagonists calcitonin gene-related peptide 8-37 and olcegepant on thalamic cell firing, elicited by stimulation of the superior sagittal sinus or by microiontophoretic application of l-glutamate. Additionally, we used immunofluorescent staining to demonstrate the presence of functional calcitonin gene-related peptide receptors in the ventroposteromedial thalamic nucleus by specifically co-staining for the calcitonin gene-related peptide receptor subunits calcitonin receptor-like receptor and receptor activity modifying protein 1. Intravenously administered olcegepant significantly inhibited cell firing evoked by stimulation of the superior sagittal sinus as well as the background activity. Microiontophoresis of calcitonin gene-related peptide 8-37 also showed a significant inhibition of l-glutamate-evoked cell firing and firing evoked by stimulation of the superior sagittal sinus. Immunofluorescent staining confirmed the presence of the components of a functional calcitonin gene-related peptide receptor, the calcitonin receptor-like receptor and the receptor activity modifying protein 1, within the area of the ventroposteromedial thalamic nucleus. This is the first report on the efficacy of calcitonin gene-related peptide receptor antagonists at the level of third-order neurons in the migraine pathway, showing that the central effects of calcitonin gene-related peptide receptor antagonists extend beyond the trigeminocervical complex at least to the sensory thalamus.