Calcitonin gene-related peptide antagonism and cluster headache: an emerging new treatment

Håkan Ashina, Lawrence Newman, Sait Ashina

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) is a key signaling molecule involved in migraine pathophysiology. Efficacy of CGRP monoclonal antibodies and antagonists in migraine treatment has fueled an increasing interest in the prospect of treating cluster headache (CH) with CGRP antagonism. The exact role of CGRP and its mechanism of action in CH have not been fully clarified. A search for original studies and randomized controlled trials (RCTs) published in English was performed in PubMed and in The search term used was “cluster headache and calcitonin gene related peptide” and “primary headaches and calcitonin gene related peptide.” Reference lists of identified articles were also searched for additional relevant papers. Human experimental studies have reported elevated plasma CGRP levels during both spontaneous and glyceryl trinitrate-induced cluster attacks. CGRP may play an important role in cluster headache pathophysiology. More refined human studies are warranted with regard to assay validation and using larger sample sizes. The results from RCTs may reveal the therapeutic potential of CGRP monoclonal antibodies and antagonists for cluster headache treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2089-2093
Number of pages5
JournalNeurological Sciences
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Antagonism
  • Calcitonin gene-related peptide
  • Cluster headache
  • Pain
  • Pathophysiology
  • Trigeminal system


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