Migraine is a neurovascular disorder that is three times more prevalent in women than in men and represents a large socio-economic burden. Therefore, the development of new preventive medications is an urgent matter. Currently, calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), a neuropeptide released from trigeminal fibres, is an important target for migraine treatment. Accordingly, antibodies directed against CGRP or its receptor, as well as small-molecule CGRP receptor antagonists, have been developed for the prophylactic and acute treatment of migraine. Results from clinical phase III trials show a significant decrease in migraine days and relatively mild side-effects. However, CGRP is not only present in the trigeminal nerve, but it is also abundant in perivascular nerve fibres. Moreover, CGRP levels and hormones vary between sexes and during different life stages, and hormones affect CGRP, with a seemingly greater role for CGRP in females. In this review we discuss whether these aspects could be associated with differences in response and efficacy of drugs interfering with the CGRP pathway. Furthermore, CGRP has been described as playing a protective role in ischemic events, and CGRP seems to play a larger role in cardiac ischemic events in female patients. As cardiovascular risk is increased in female migraine patients and also increases significantly in females after menopause, further research into the risk of blocking CGRP in these patients is needed.

Cardiovascular risk, CGRP, CGRP (receptor) antibodies, Gender, Migraine, Sex hormones
dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.maturitas.2020.12.012, hdl.handle.net/1765/134306
Department of Internal Medicine

de Vries Lentsch, S. (Simone), Rubio-Beltrán, A.E, & Maassen van den Brink, A. (2021). Changing levels of sex hormones and calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) during a woman's life: Implications for the efficacy and safety of novel antimigraine medications. Maturitas (Vol. 145, pp. 73–77). doi:10.1016/j.maturitas.2020.12.012