CGRP Update!! All your questions answered.

By 1 August 2018December 4th, 2020Lifestyle

CGRP Update

Following member’s queries and questions around the introduction of this new drug and in response to the large volume of online comments and questions, (read our original press release here) The Migraine Association sought clarification on a number of issues with Novartis who have confirmed the following:

  • Erenumab is the first and only treatment specifically designed for migraine prevention to be approved in the European Union, Switzerland, the US and Australia. It works by blocking a receptor called the calcitonin gene-related peptide receptor (CGRP-R), which plays a critical role in mediating the incapacitating pain of migraine. Erenumab is a medicinal product that can only be prescribed by a physician experienced in treating migraine.
  • Managed Access Program (MAP) will be opened to provide Erenumab in countries where the local regulations allow provision of unapproved or yet to be reimbursed therapies on a compassionate use basis. For more information, please contact your neurologist or headache specialist.

  • There are currently no clinical trials using Erenumab running in Ireland .

  • Novartis will make an application to have Erenumab reimbursed in Ireland.  Given the current timelines for assessment, it has been estimated that Erenumab will not be reimbursed until late 2019.


In July of 2019 Teva announced that their version of CGRP medication, Fremanezumab was to become available on a ‘Free of Charge’ programme similar to the Managed Access programme mentioned above.

The programme can be accessed through a neurologist who will apply on behalf of their patient once they meet certain criteria.

There are four pharmaceutical companies currently developing different types of CGRP medications, all showing similar promise in relation to effectiveness and side-effects. They are;

  • Novartis – Erenumab (Aimovig)
  • Teva – Fremanezumab (Ajovy)
  • Eli Lily – Galcanezumab (Emgality)
  • Alder – Epitinezumab

Information on the development of all of these medications will be updated as we get it.

CGRP – What is it and what does it do?

  • It’s a substance that is released in the trigeminal nerve
  • It spikes during migraine
  • CGRP dilates blood vessels
  • Degrades mast cells (cells which control inflammation during allergic reactions)
  • Creates an inflammatory fluid in the blood vessels

For more information see Prof. Peter Goadsby’s Interview from the European Academy of Neurology Congress 2016 on our website