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Switching OnabotulinumtoxinA to Monoclonal Anti-CGRP Antibodies in Drug-Resistant Chronic Migraine.

CNS Drugs 2023 January 20
BACKGROUND: OnabotulinumtoxinA (BTX-A) and anti-calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) monoclonal antibodies (anti-CGRP mAbs) are approved drugs for chronic migraine (CM), a difficult-to-treat condition. Optimization of CM patient management by choosing the best options and determining appropriate time for switching or adding concomitant treatments are highly needed.

OBJECTIVE: Evaluate clinical response to anti-CGRP mAbs in patients who switched from BTX-A due to ineffectiveness defined by different cut-offs and assess the retention rate, effectiveness, and safety of both drugs within the first 9 months of treatment.

METHODS: A monocentric, cohort study, enrolling patients with CM, resistant to several preventive treatments, first treated with BTX-A and then with anti-CGRP mAbs with two observational phases of 9 months preceded by respective baseline. First, the retention rate and effectiveness of both treatments were measured in all patients. A second analysis assessed effectiveness in patients stratified according to <50 or <30% response rate to BTX-A. The absolute change from baseline in monthly headache days (MHDs), response rate, analgesic use, and persistence in medication overuse (MO) at 3, 6, and 9 months of treatment were recorded. Last observation carried forward (LOCF) analyses, including all patients and assuming no further changes after discontinuation, were performed for all outcomes.

RESULTS: Of the 78 enrolled patients (80.8% female, and 89.7% with MO at baseline), 32 (41.0%) received erenumab, 32 (41.0%) galcanezumab, and 14 (18.0%) fremanezumab. Retention rate was 62.2 and 91.0% for BTX-A and 76.9 and 96.2%, for anti-CGRP mAbs at 3 and 9 months of treatment, respectively. At 9 months of treatment, 22.4% of BTX-A patients and 65.0% of anti-CGRP mAbs patients achieved a ≥50% response rate. Anti-CGRP mAbs reduced MHDs, AMN, and AMDs, and decreased the number of MO patients at 9 months. In patients stratified according to <50 or <30% response rate to BTX-A, response rate (≥50% response at 9 months) to anti-CGRP was 62.9 and 57.9%, respectively. LOCF analyses confirmed these findings. No serious adverse events (AEs) were recorded and only two patients discontinued treatment due to AEs.

CONCLUSIONS: Difficult-to-treat CM patients who discontinued BTX-A and received anti-CGRP mAbs showed a substantial clinical improvement in migraine-related outcomes. Switching to an anti-CGRP mAb appears to be a viable option in patients with insufficient response after the first 2 cycles with BTX-A. The appropriate variables, cut-offs, and timing to define ineffectiveness and the best time to switch or combine therapies for difficult-to-treat CM need to be investigated further.

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