BOSTON – Atogepant helped reduce the number of mean migraine days among adults with episodic migraine who failed multiple other oral migraine medications, according to findings from a study presented at the 2023 annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology.
Initial results from the double-blind ELEVATE trial showed the oral atogepant group had significantly fewer mean monthly migraine days (MMD) compared with a placebo group. There was also a significant difference in the number of participants who achieved 50% or greater reduction in the number of mean MMDs and a significant reduction in acute medication use days compared with the placebo group, according to Patricia Pozo-Rosich, MD, PhD, a headache specialist in the neurology department and director of the headache and craniofacial pain clinical unit and the Migraine Adaptive Brain Center at the Vall d’Hebron University Hospital in Barcelona, and colleagues.
The oral calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) receptor antagonist is currently approved in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration as a preventative for both episodic and chronic migraine.
Results from ELEVATE
Overall, ELEVATE’s initial efficacy analysis population consisted of 309 adults aged between 18 and 80 years from North America and Europe with episodic migraine who had 4-14 MMDs and had treatment failure with at least two classes of conventional oral medication. After a 28-day screening period, participants received either 60 mg of oral atogepant once per day (154 participants) or a placebo (155 participants). In the efficacy analysis population, 56.0% of participants had failed two oral migraine preventative medication classes, while 44.0% failed three or more classes of medication. Dr. Pozo-Rosich noted that participants were taking a number of different oral preventatives across different medication classes, including flunarizine, beta blockers, topiramate, and amitriptyline, but data are not yet available on which participants had received certain combinations of oral medications.
“[T]hese people have already taken some type of prevention, so they’re not naive patients,” she said. “They’re usually more or less well treated in the sense of having had a contact with specialists or a general neurologist, someone that actually tries to do some prevention.”
The researchers examined change from MMDs at baseline and at 12 weeks as a primary outcome, with 50% or greater MMD reduction, change in mean monthly headache days, and change in acute medication use days as secondary outcomes. Regarding the different acute medications used, Dr. Pozo-Rosich said the main three types were analgesics, nonsteroid anti-inflammatory drugs, and triptans, with participants excluded from the trial if they were taking opioids.
The results showed participants in the atogepant group had significantly fewer mean MMDs compared with the placebo group at 12 weeks compared with baseline (–4.20 vs. –1.85 days; P < .0001). Researchers also found statistically significant improvement in the atogepant group for 50% or greater reduction in MMD, change in mean monthly headache days, and change in acute medication use days across 12 weeks of treatment compared with the placebo group. While the specific data analyses for secondary outcomes were not conducted in the initial analysis, Dr. Pozo-Rosich said the numbers "correlate with the primary outcome" as seen in other migraine trials.
Compared with the placebo group, participants in the atogepant group had higher rates of constipation (10.3% vs. 2.5%), COVID-19 (8.3% vs. 9.6%), and nausea (7.1% vs. 3.2%), while the placebo group had a higher rate of nasopharyngitis (5.1% vs. 7.6%).
Migraine is a prevalent and undertreated disease, and patients around the world with migraine are in need of treatment options that are both safe and effective, Dr. Pozo-Rosich said in an interview. “[E]ven in these hard-to-treat or difficult-to-treat migraine patients, you have a drug that works, and is safe, and well tolerated and effective,” she said.
That’s “kind of good news for all of us,” she said. Patients “need this type of good news and solution,” she explained, because they may not tolerate or have access to injectable medications. Atogepant would also give clinicians have another option to offer patients with difficult-to-treat migraine cases, she noted. “It makes life easier for many physicians and many patients for many different reasons,” she said.
Dr. Pozo-Rosich said the likely next step in the research is to conduct the main analysis as well as post hoc analyses with accumulated data from pathology trials “to understand patterns of response, understand the sustainability of the response, [and] adherence to the treatment in the long term.”
‘Exciting that it works well’ in difficult-to-treat patients
Commenting on the study, Alan M. Rapoport, MD, clinical professor of neurology at University of California, Los Angeles, and past president of the International Headache Society, agreed that better options in migraine treatment and prevention are needed.
“We needed something that was going to be better than what we had before,” he said.
Dr. Rapoport noted the study was well designed with strongly positive results. “It looks like it’s an effective drug, and it looks really good in that it’s effective for people that have failed all these preventives that have very little hope for the future,” he said.
He specifically praised the inclusion of older participants in the population. “You never see a study on 80-year-olds,” he said, “but I like that, because they felt it would be safe. There are 80-year-old patients – fewer of them than 40-year-old patients – but there are 80-year-old patients who still have migraine, so I’m really glad they put older patients in it,” he said.
For atogepant, he noted that “some patients won’t get the side effects, and some patients will tolerate the side effects because it’s working really well.” While the study was not a head-to-head comparison against other oral migraine preventatives, he pointed out the high rate of constipation among participants in the trial setting may be a warning sign of future issues, as seen with other CGRP receptor agonists.
“I can tell you that with erenumab, the monoclonal antibody that was injected in the double-blind studies, they didn’t find any significant increase in constipation,” he explained. However, some clinicians using erenumab in the real world have reported up to 20% of their patients are constipated. “It’s not good that they’re reporting 10% are constipated” in the study, he said.
Overall, “all you can really say is it does work well,” Dr. Rapoport said. “It’s exciting that it works well in such difficult-to-treat patients, and it does come with some side effects.”
Dr. Pozo-Rosich reports serving as a consultant and developing education materials for AbbVie, Eli Lilly, Novartis, Teva Pharmaceuticals, and Pfizer. Dr. Rapoport is the editor-in-chief of Neurology Reviews; he reports being a consultant for AbbVie, the developer of atogepant. The ELEVATE trial is supported by AbbVie.
This article originally appeared on MDedge.com, part of the Medscape Professional Network.