Ubrogepant, a small-molecule calcitonin gene-related peptide receptor antagonist, was recently approved as an oral medication for the acute treatment of migraine. This study aimed to determine whether ubrogepant shows efficacy in a preclinical model of migraine-like pain and whether repeated oral administration of ubrogepant induces latent sensitization relevant to medication overuse headache in rats.
A “two-hit” priming model of medication overuse headache was used. Female Sprague-Dawley rats received six oral doses of sumatriptan 10 mg/kg over 2 weeks to induce latent sensitization (i.e. “priming”). Cutaneous allodynia was measured periodically over 20 days in the periorbital and hindpaw regions using von Frey filaments. The rats were then subjected to a 1-hour bright light stress challenge on two consecutive days. At the start of the second bright light stress exposure, oral sumatriptan 10 mg/kg, oral ubrogepant 25, 50, or 100 mg/kg, or vehicle was administered; thereafter, cephalic and hindpaw sensory thresholds were monitored hourly over 5 hours to determine the efficacy of ubrogepant in reversing bright light stress-induced cutaneous allodynia. A dose of ubrogepant effective in the medication overuse headache model (100 mg/kg) was then selected to determine if repeated administration would produce latent sensitization. Rats were administered six oral doses of ubrogepant 100 mg/kg, sumatriptan 10 mg/kg (positive control), or vehicle over 2 weeks, and cutaneous allodynia was evaluated regularly. Testing continued until mechanosensitivity returned to baseline levels. Rats were then challenged with bright light stress on days 20 and 21, and periorbital and hindpaw cutaneous allodynia was measured. On days 28 to 32, the same groups received a nitric oxide donor (sodium nitroprusside 3 mg/kg, i.p.), and cutaneous allodynia was assessed hourly over 5 hours.
Sumatriptan elicited cutaneous allodynia in both cephalic and hindpaw regions; cutaneous allodynia resolved to baseline levels after cessation of drug administration (14 days). Sumatriptan priming resulted in generalized and delayed cutaneous allodynia, evoked by either bright light stress (day 21) or nitric oxide donor (day 28). Ubrogepant dose-dependently blocked both stress- and nitric oxide donor-induced cephalic and hindpaw allodynia in the sumatriptan-induced medication overuse headache model with a 50% effective dose of ∼50 mg/kg. Unlike sumatriptan, ubrogepant 100 mg/kg in repeated effective doses did not produce cutaneous allodynia or latent sensitization.
Both ubrogepant and sumatriptan demonstrated efficacy as acute medications for stress- and nitric oxide donor-evoked cephalic allodynia in a preclinical model of medication overuse headache, consistent with their clinical efficacy in the acute treatment of migraine. However, in contrast to sumatriptan, repeated treatment with ubrogepant did not induce cutaneous allodynia or latent sensitization. These studies suggest ubrogepant may offer an effective acute treatment of migraine without risk of medication overuse headache. Not applicable.