Efficacy and tolerability of erenumab in patients with episodic migraine in whom two-to-four previous preventive treatments were unsuccessful: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 3b study

Lancet. 2018 Nov 24;392(10161):2280-2287. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(18)32534-0. Epub 2018 Oct 22.


Background: A substantial proportion of patients with migraine does not respond to, or cannot tolerate, oral preventive treatments. Erenumab is a novel CGRP-receptor antibody with preventive efficacy in migraine. We assessed its efficacy and tolerability in patients with episodic migraine in whom previous treatment with two-to-four migraine preventives had been unsuccessful.

Methods: LIBERTY was a 12-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled randomised study at 59 sites in 16 countries. Eligible patients were aged 18-65 years and had a history of episodic migraine with or without aura for at least 12 months, had migraine for an average of 4-14 days per month during the 3 months before screening, and had been treated unsuccessfully (in terms of either efficacy or tolerability, or both) with between two and four preventive treatments. Eligible participants were randomly assigned (1:1) to receive either erenumab 140 mg (via two 70 mg injections) or placebo every 4 weeks subcutaneously for 12 weeks. Randomisation was by interactive response technology and was stratified by monthly frequency of migraine headache (4-7 vs 8-14 migraine days per month) during the baseline phase. Cenduit generated the randomisation list and assigned participants to groups. Participants, investigators, people doing various assessments, and the study sponsor were masked to treatment assignment. The primary endpoint was the proportion of patients achieving a 50% or greater reduction in the mean number of monthly migraine days during weeks 9-12. Efficacy was measured in the full analysis set, which included all randomly assigned patients who started their assigned treatment and completed at least one post-baseline monthly migraine day measurement. Safety and tolerability were assessed by recording adverse events and by physical examination, assessment of vital signs, clinical laboratory assessments, and electrocardiography. Safety was assessed in all randomly assigned patients who received at least one dose of study drug. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT03096834. The trial is closed to new participants, but the open-label extension phase is ongoing.

Findings: Between March 20, 2017, and Oct 27, 2017, 246 participants were randomly assigned, 121 to the erenumab group and 125 to the placebo group. 95 of 246 (39%) participants had previously unsuccessfully tried two preventive drugs, 93 (38%) had tried three, and 56 (23%) had tried four. At week 12, 36 (30%) patients in the erenumab had a 50% or greater reduction from baseline in the mean number of monthly migraine days, compared with 17 (14%) in the placebo group (odds ratio 2·7 [95% CI 1·4-5·2]; p=0·002). The tolerability and safety profiles of erenumab and placebo were similar. The most frequent treatment-emergent adverse event was injection site pain, which occurred in seven (6%) participants in both groups.

Interpretation: Compared with placebo, erenumab was efficacious in patients with episodic migraine who previously did not respond to or tolerate between two and four previous migraine preventive treatments. Erenumab might be an option for patients with difficult-to-treat migraine who have high unmet needs and few treatment options.

Funding: Novartis Pharma.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / therapeutic use*
  • Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide Receptor Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Migraine Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Treatment Failure
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide Receptor Antagonists
  • erenumab

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT03096834