This is a comprehensive review of the current literature on the usage of galcanezumab for migraine treatment. It reviews the biology, pathophysiology, epidemiology, diagnosis, and conventional treatment of migraines, then compares the literature available for galcanezumab with historical treatment options.
Migraine is a common headache disorder and constitutes a significant source of distress from both a personal and societal perspective. Conventional treatment includes abortive and preventive treatment. Treatment options are limited and may be only partially or minimally effective in some of the population. Recent evidence points to metabolic changes in the brain as possible causes of migraine, via reduced available energy or a spiking need for it, resulting in a relative insufficiency. This leads to trigeminocervical complex (TCC) activation and a headache episode, modulated by calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP). Galcanezumab (Emgality) is a monoclonal antibody targeting CGRP that is given in a monthly injection for the prevention of migraines. Its safety was previously shown in phase 1 and 2 trials, and recent phase 3 trials showed efficacy, with up to 50% reduction in monthly migraine days and improved functional capacity in migraineurs. Studies show that the drug is well tolerated and safe. Migraine headache is a common neurological syndrome that causes great pain and suffering. Treatment options today are limited. Galcanezumab does not prevent migraines, but it is effective in decreasing their frequency and length. It is also much better tolerated than the currently existing therapies. While it is unlikely to provide monotherapy for migraines, it is a novel therapy that may be added for cases of severe or frequent migraines.