Targeting CGRP: A New Era for Migraine Treatment

CNS Drugs. 2015 Jun;29(6):443-52. doi: 10.1007/s40263-015-0253-z.


Migraine is a highly prevalent headache disease that typically affects patients during their most productive years. Despite significant progress in understanding the underlying pathophysiology of this disorder, its treatment so far continues to depend on drugs that, in their majority, were not specifically designed for this purpose. The neuropeptide calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) has been indicated as playing a critical role in the central and peripheral pathways leading to a migraine attack. It is not surprising that drugs designed to specifically block its action are gaining remarkable attention from researchers in the field with, at least so far, a safe risk profile. In this article, we highlight the evolution from older traditional treatments to the innovative CGRP target drugs that are revolutionizing the way to approach this debilitating neurological disease. We provide a brief introduction on pathophysiology of migraine and details on the characteristic, function, and localization of CGRP to then focus on CGRP receptor antagonists (CGRP-RAs) and CGRP monoclonal antibodies (CGRP mAbs).

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics / therapeutic use*
  • Animals
  • Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide / metabolism*
  • Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide Receptor Antagonists
  • Humans
  • Migraine Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Migraine Disorders / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide / metabolism


  • Analgesics
  • Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide Receptor Antagonists
  • Receptors, Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide
  • Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide