Onset, Maintenance, and Cessation of Effect of Galcanezumab for Prevention of Migraine: A Narrative Review of Three Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trials

Adv Ther. 2021 Mar;38(3):1614-1626. doi: 10.1007/s12325-021-01632-x. Epub 2021 Feb 5.


Introduction: Galcanezumab, a humanized monoclonal antibody that binds to calcitonin gene-related peptide, is approved for the preventive treatment of migraine in adults. It is self-administered once monthly as a subcutaneous injection. This paper describes the time course of effect of galcanezumab in patients with episodic and chronic migraine.

Methods: Data were based on three double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 3 studies. Patients (1773 episodic and 1113 chronic) were randomized (2:1:1) to monthly doses of placebo, galcanezumab 120 mg with a 240 mg loading dose, or galcanezumab 240 mg (January 2016-March 2017). Onset of effect was determined using a sequential analysis approach based on earliest time point at which galcanezumab achieved and subsequently maintained statistical superiority to placebo. Maintenance of effect was a comparison of the percentages of galcanezumab- and placebo-treated patients with maintenance of at least 50% response at the individual patient level. Cessation of effect was determined during a 4-month post-treatment period on the basis of change from baseline in monthly migraine headache days.

Results: Galcanezumab led to a lower percentage of patients who had a migraine headache on the first day after injection, provided maintenance of effect throughout the duration of the double-blind treatment period, and gradually lost effect without signs of rebound headache throughout the post-treatment period in most patients with episodic and chronic migraine.

Conclusion: Galcanezumab is a novel preventive therapeutic option for adult patients with migraine that has early onset of action, maintenance of effect, and gradual reduction of effect upon treatment cessation.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT02614183 (EVOLVE-1); NCT02614196 (EVOLVE-2); NCT02614261 (REGAIN).

Keywords: CGRP antagonist; Cessation; Galcanezumab; Maintenance; Migraine; Migraine prevention; Onset.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized*
  • Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Humans
  • Migraine Disorders* / drug therapy
  • Migraine Disorders* / prevention & control
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • galcanezumab
  • Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02614183
  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02614196
  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02614261