Effect of Adrenomedullin on Migraine-Like Attacks in Patients With Migraine: A Randomized Crossover Study

Neurology. 2021 May 18;96(20):e2488-e2499. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000011930. Epub 2021 Apr 7.


Objective: To determine whether the IV infusion of adrenomedullin, a potent vasodilator belonging to calcitonin family of peptides, provokes attacks of migraine in patients.

Methods: Twenty patients with migraine without aura participated in a placebo-controlled and double-blind clinical study. In a randomized crossover design, the patients received an IV infusion of human adrenomedullin (19.9 pmol/kg/min) or placebo (saline) administrated via an automated IV pump (20 minutes). The patients participated in 2 study days with a washout period of minimum of 7 days. The primary outcome of the study was predefined as a difference in migraine incidence (0-12 hours), and the secondary outcomes were the area under curve (AUC0-12 hours) for the headache intensity score and AUC0-90 minutes for mean arterial blood pressure (MAP), flushing, and heart rate (HR).

Results: Eleven patients with migraine without aura (55%) fulfilled migraine attacks criteria after adrenomedullin infusion compared to only 3 patients who reported attack (15%) after placebo (p = 0.039). We found that patients reported in a period of 0 to 12 hours stronger headache intensity after adrenomedullin compared to placebo infusion (p = 0.035). AUC0-90 minutes value for HR and flushing (p < 0.05) was significant and for MAP (p = 0.502) remained unchanged. Common reported adverse events were facial flushing, heat sensation, and palpitation (p < 0.001).

Conclusion: Our data implicate adrenomedullin in migraine pathogenesis. This suggests that adrenomedullin or its receptors are novel therapeutic targets for the treatment of migraine. However, we cannot discount the possibility that adrenomedullin may be acting through the canonical calcitonin gene-related peptide receptor.

Trial registration information: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT04111484.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adrenomedullin / pharmacology*
  • Adult
  • Arterial Pressure / drug effects*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Flushing / chemically induced*
  • Headache / chemically induced*
  • Heart Rate / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Infusions, Intravenous
  • Male
  • Migraine without Aura / chemically induced*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Random Allocation
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Vasodilator Agents / pharmacology*
  • Young Adult


  • Vasodilator Agents
  • Adrenomedullin

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT04111484