Effect of Fremanezumab Compared With Placebo for Prevention of Episodic Migraine

Question  Is the monoclonal antibody fremanezumab effective in preventing episodic migraine?

Findings  In this randomized clinical trial that included 875 adults with episodic migraine in whom multiple medication classes had not previously failed, fremanezumab compared with placebo resulted in significantly fewer monthly migraine days with monthly dosing (–1.5 days) and with a single higher dose at baseline (–1.3 days) over 12 weeks.

Meaning  Fremanezumab as a preventive treatment for episodic migraine reduced the mean number of monthly migraine days over a 12-week period compared with placebo. Further research is needed to assess effectiveness against other preventive medications and in patients in whom multiple preventive drug classes have failed and to determine long-term safety and efficacy.

Reference: JAMA. 2018;319(19):1999-2008.


Migraine and risk of cardiovascular diseases: Danish population based matched cohort study

Objective To examine the risks of myocardial infarction, stroke (ischaemic and haemorrhagic), peripheral artery disease, venous thromboembolism, atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter, and heart failure in patients with migraine and in a general population comparison cohort.

Design Nationwide, population based cohort study.

Setting All Danish hospitals and hospital outpatient clinics from 1995 to 2013.

Participants 51 032 patients with migraine and 510 320 people from the general population matched on age, sex, and calendar year.

Main outcome measures Comorbidity adjusted hazard ratios of cardiovascular outcomes based on Cox regression analysis.

Results Higher absolute risks were observed among patients with incident migraine than in the general population across most outcomes and follow-up periods. After 19 years of follow-up, the cumulative incidences per 1000 people for the migraine cohort compared with the general population were 25 v 17 for myocardial infarction, 45 v 25 for ischaemic stroke, 11 v 6 for haemorrhagic stroke, 13 v 11 for peripheral artery disease, 27 v 18 for venous thromboembolism, 47 v 34 for atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter, and 19 v 18 for heart failure. Correspondingly, migraine was positively associated with myocardial infarction (adjusted hazard ratio 1.49, 95% confidence interval 1.36 to 1.64), ischaemic stroke (2.26, 2.11 to 2.41), and haemorrhagic stroke (1.94, 1.68 to 2.23), as well as venous thromboembolism (1.59, 1.45 to 1.74) and atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter (1.25, 1.16 to 1.36). No meaningful association was found with peripheral artery disease (adjusted hazard ratio 1.12, 0.96 to 1.30) or heart failure (1.04, 0.93 to 1.16). The associations, particularly for stroke outcomes, were stronger during the short term (0-1 years) after diagnosis than the long term (up to 19 years), in patients with aura than in those without aura, and in women than in men. In a subcohort of patients, the associations persisted after additional multivariable adjustment for body mass index and smoking.

Conclusions Migraine was associated with increased risks of myocardial infarction, ischaemic stroke, haemorrhagic stroke, venous thromboembolism, and atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter. Migraine may be an important risk factor for most cardiovascular diseases.

Reference: BMJ 2018;360:k96

A Controlled Trial of Erenumab for Episodic Migraine


We tested erenumab, a fully human monoclonal antibody that inhibits the calcitonin gene–related peptide receptor, for the prevention of episodic migraine.


We randomly assigned patients to receive a subcutaneous injection of either erenumab, at a dose of 70 mg or 140 mg, or placebo monthly for 6 months. The primary end point was the change from baseline to months 4 through 6 in the mean number of migraine days per month. Secondary end points were a 50% or greater reduction in mean migraine days per month, change in the number of days of use of acute migraine–specific medication, and change in scores on the physical-impairment and everyday-activities domains of the Migraine Physical Function Impact Diary (scale transformed to 0 to 100, with higher scores representing greater migraine burden on functioning).


A total of 955 patients underwent randomization: 317 were assigned to the 70-mg erenumab group, 319 to the 140-mg erenumab group, and 319 to the placebo group. The mean number of migraine days per month at baseline was 8.3 in the overall population; by months 4 through 6, the number of days was reduced by 3.2 in the 70-mg erenumab group and by 3.7 in the 140-mg erenumab group, as compared with 1.8 days in the placebo group (P<0.001 for each dose vs. placebo). A 50% or greater reduction in the mean number of migraine days per month was achieved for 43.3% of patients in the 70-mg erenumab group and 50.0% of patients in the 140-mg erenumab group, as compared with 26.6% in the placebo group (P<0.001 for each dose vs. placebo), and the number of days of use of acute migraine–specific medication was reduced by 1.1 days in the 70-mg erenumab group and by 1.6 days in the 140-mg erenumab group, as compared with 0.2 days in the placebo group (P<0.001 for each dose vs. placebo). Physical-impairment scores improved by 4.2 and 4.8 points in the 70-mg and 140-mg erenumab groups, respectively, as compared with 2.4 points in the placebo group (P<0.001 for each dose vs. placebo), and everyday-activities scores improved by 5.5 and 5.9 points in the 70-mg and 140-mg erenumab groups, respectively, as compared with 3.3 points in the placebo group (P<0.001 for each dose vs. placebo). The rates of adverse events were similar between erenumab and placebo.


Erenumab administered subcutaneously at a monthly dose of 70 mg or 140 mg significantly reduced migraine frequency, the effects of migraines on daily activities, and the use of acute migraine–specific medication over a period of 6 months. The long-term safety and durability of the effect of erenumab require further study. (Funded by Amgen and Novartis; STRIVE ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02456740.)

Fremanezumab for the Preventive Treatment of Chronic Migraine


Fremanezumab, a humanized monoclonal antibody targeting calcitonin gene–related peptide (CGRP), is being investigated as a preventive treatment for migraine. We compared two fremanezumab dose regimens with placebo for the prevention of chronic migraine.


In this phase 3 trial, we randomly assigned patients with chronic migraine (defined as headache of any duration or severity on ≥15 days per month and migraine on ≥8 days per month) in a 1:1:1 ratio to receive fremanezumab quarterly (a single dose of 675 mg at baseline and placebo at weeks 4 and 8), fremanezumab monthly (675 mg at baseline and 225 mg at weeks 4 and 8), or matching placebo. Both fremanezumab and placebo were administered by means of subcutaneous injection. The primary end point was the mean change from baseline in the average number of headache days (defined as days in which headache pain lasted ≥4 consecutive hours and had a peak severity of at least a moderate level or days in which acute migraine–specific medication [triptans or ergots] was used to treat a headache of any severity or duration) per month during the 12 weeks after the first dose.


Of 1130 patients enrolled, 376 were randomly assigned to fremanezumab quarterly, 379 to fremanezumab monthly, and 375 to placebo. The mean number of baseline headache days (as defined above) per month was 13.2, 12.8, and 13.3, respectively. The least-squares mean (±SE) reduction in the average number of headache days per month was 4.3±0.3 with fremanezumab quarterly, 4.6±0.3 with fremanezumab monthly, and 2.5±0.3 with placebo (P<0.001 for both comparisons with placebo). The percentage of patients with a reduction of at least 50% in the average number of headache days per month was 38% in the fremanezumab-quarterly group, 41% in the fremanezumab-monthly group, and 18% in the placebo group (P<0.001 for both comparisons with placebo). Abnormalities of hepatic function occurred in 5 patients in each fremanezumab group (1%) and 3 patients in the placebo group (<1%).


Fremanezumab as a preventive treatment for chronic migraine resulted in a lower frequency of headache than placebo in this 12-week trial. Injection-site reactions to the drug were common. The long-term durability and safety of fremanezumab require further study. (Funded by Teva Pharmaceuticals; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02621931.)

Trial of Amitriptyline, Topiramate, and Placebo for Pediatric Migraine


Which, medication, if any, to use to prevent the headache of pediatric migraine has not been established.


We conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of amitriptyline (1 mg per kilogram of body weight per day), topiramate (2 mg per kilogram per day), and placebo in children and adolescents 8 to 17 years of age with migraine. Patients were randomly assigned in a 2:2:1 ratio to receive one of the medications or placebo. The primary outcome was a relative reduction of 50% or more in the number of headache days in the comparison of the 28-day baseline period with the last 28 days of a 24-week trial. Secondary outcomes were headache-related disability, headache days, number of trial completers, and serious adverse events that emerged during treatment.


A total of 361 patients underwent randomization, and 328 were included in the primary efficacy analysis (132 in the amitriptyline group, 130 in the topiramate group, and 66 in the placebo group). The trial was concluded early for futility after a planned interim analysis. There were no significant between-group differences in the primary outcome, which occurred in 52% of the patients in the amitriptyline group, 55% of those in the topiramate group, and 61% of those in the placebo group (amitriptyline vs. placebo, P=0.26; topiramate vs. placebo, P=0.48; amitriptyline vs. topiramate, P=0.49). There were also no significant between-group differences in headache-related disability, headache days, or the percentage of patients who completed the 24-week treatment period. Patients who received amitriptyline or topiramate had higher rates of several adverse events than those receiving placebo, including fatigue (30% vs. 14%) and dry mouth (25% vs. 12%) in the amitriptyline group and paresthesia (31% vs. 8%) and weight loss (8% vs. 0%) in the topiramate group. Three patients in the amitriptyline group had serious adverse events of altered mood, and one patient in the topiramate group had a suicide attempt.


There were no significant differences in reduction in headache frequency or headache-related disability in childhood and adolescent migraine with amitriptyline, topiramate, or placebo over a period of 24 weeks. The active drugs were associated with higher rates of adverse events. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health; CHAMP ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01581281).

N Engl J Med 2017; 376:115-124January 12, 2017

Migraine and risk of cardiovascular disease in women: prospective cohort study

Objective To evaluate the association between migraine and incident cardiovascular disease and cardiovascular mortality in women.

Design Prospective cohort study among Nurses’ Health Study II participants, with follow-up from 1989 and through June 2011.

Setting Cohort of female nurses in United States.

Participants 115 541 women aged 25-42 years at baseline and free of angina and cardiovascular disease. Cumulative follow-up rates were more than 90%.

Main outcome measures The primary outcome of the study was major cardiovascular disease, a combined endpoint of myocardial infarction, stroke, or fatal cardiovascular disease. Secondary outcome measures included individual endpoints of myocardial infarction, stroke, angina/coronary revascularization procedures, and cardiovascular mortality.

Results 17 531 (15.2%) women reported a physician’s diagnosis of migraine. Over 20 years of follow-up, 1329 major cardiovascular disease events occurred and 223 women died from cardiovascular disease. After adjustment for potential confounding factors, migraine was associated with an increased risk for major cardiovascular disease (hazard ratio 1.50, 95% confidence interval 1.33 to 1.69), myocardial infarction (1.39, 1.18 to 1.64), stroke (1.62, 1.37 to 1.92), and angina/coronary revascularization procedures (1.73, 1.29 to 2.32), compared with women without migraine. Furthermore, migraine was associated with a significantly increased risk for cardiovascular disease mortality (hazard ratio 1.37, 1.02 to 1.83). Associations were similar across subgroups of women, including by age (<50/≥50), smoking status (current/past/never), hypertension (yes/no), postmenopausal hormone therapy (current/not current), and oral contraceptive use (current/not current).

Conclusions Results of this large, prospective cohort study in women with more than 20 years of follow-up indicate a consistent link between migraine and cardiovascular disease events, including cardiovascular mortality. Women with migraine should be evaluated for their vascular risk. Future targeted research is warranted to identify preventive strategies to reduce the risk of future cardiovascular disease among patients with migraine.

BMJ 2016;353:i2610