Getting into a CGRP Drug Study for Migraine
The logistics of finding a CGRP drug study are relatively simple—the hard parts are meeting the study criteria and living close enough (or being able to travel) to a location that needs trial participants.
Finding Clinical Trials
ClinicalTrials.gov is a registry of medical studies around the world. You can search for studies on any condition you’re curious about and can narrow the list by location. It’s the most detailed search, but can be overwhelming.
CenterWatch is another database of clinical trials. You can search studies and research centers by condition and/or geographic location. It has less information than ClinicalTrial.gov, but the format is easier to follow. CenterWatch offers a free email notification service of new trials.
The Center for Information and Study on Clinical Research Participation will search trials for you. Call 1-877-MED HERO or complete the online search request form to receive search results by email in about a week. (The trial search function on the website searches CenterWatch’s database.)
Current CGRP Drug Studies for Migraine
My search for migraine CGRP on ClinicalTrials.gov turned up 29 studies, many of which have already been completed. The ones that are currently recruiting are:
- To Evaluate the Blockade of CGRP in Preventing PACAP-38 Induced Migraine-like Attacks With AMG 334 in Migraine Patients (Participants will be given either AMG 334, which is a CGRP monoclonal antibody, or a placebo. They will then be given a drug to induce a migraine attack to test see if AMG 334 prevents it.)
- Evaluation of LY2951742 in the Prevention of Episodic Migraine- the EVOLVE-1 Study
- Evaluation of LY2951742 in the Prevention of Episodic Migraine- the EVOLVE-2 Study
- Evaluation of LY2951742 in the Prevention of Chronic Migraine
- A Safety Study of LY2951742 in Participants With Migraine, With or Without Aura (not yet recruiting)
Don’t take this list as the only options—doing your own search with your own terms might turn up something I missed. You can save time by limiting results to the state you live in. New studies are added all the time, so be sure to check back for ones that you might qualify for. Or sign up for CenterWatch’s email alerts.
To really know how a drug or treatment works, researchers need to compare similar patients to each other. To do this, they must limit participants by certain eligibility criteria, which vary from one study to the next. Read through a study’s eligibility requirements closely—you may meet all the criteria except one (that’s usually the case for me). Frequency of migraine attack is a major criterion; how many preventives you have tried, drug allergies, recency of Botox injections, or having an uncommon subtype of migraine are some examples of other criteria.
Depending on the study and where you’re searching, the contact may be a specific doctor or hospital, company that runs clinical trials, or a general contact phone number or email address. If you see the name of the center, but no phone number, Google the name and go from there. I’ve never had a central contact respond to email or phone calls, so I recommend trying every other possible avenue as well.
Talk to your doctor, too. They may know about trials in the area or have information on upcoming studies. This is most likely if you see a headache specialist at an academic headache center, but it’s worth a try even if you don’t.
What You Need to Know About Clinical Trials
Having the option of clinical trials is great for patients who need relief and want to try a new treatment, but they are still experiments. You may get a placebo. You may get the active drug, but at a lower dose than is effective. You may experience side effects that are not yet known. These risks are worth it to some people and not acceptable to others. If you are chosen for a study, ask every question you have and don’t agree to participate unless you are satisfied with the answers. Try to view the risks as objectively as possible to make the most informed decision you can. People can die during drug trials—that’s exceedingly rare and the CGRP drugs have had mild side effects in studies so far—but it’s important to try to keep your eyes wide open. It’s so easy to be blinded by a desire for relief (I speak from experience).
Learn More About Clinical Trials
- The Center for Information and Study on Clinical Research Participation: Education Center (The way the page scrolls is visually uncomfortable for me, but the information was so good I put up with feeling icky.)
- CenterWatch: Volunteering for a Clinical Trial and Understanding Informed Consent
- NIH/ClinicalTrials.gov: Learn About Clinical Trials
- Patient Advocate Foundation: Guide to Clinical Trials (PDF)
If you’ve participated in in drug studies and would like to share your experience, please leave a comment or email me at kerrie[at]thedailyheadache[dot]com.