Fremanezumab: A disease-specific option for the preventive treatment of migraine, including difficult-to-treat migraine

Deborah I. Friedman, Joshua M. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Fremanezumab is a fully humanized monoclonal antibody (IgG2Δa) that targets calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), a key neuropeptide involved in the pathophysiology of migraine. Fremanezumab is approved for quarterly and monthly subcutaneous dosing for the preventive treatment of migraine in adults. The phase 3 clinical development program for fremanezumab aimed to evaluate the efficacy of this preventive treatment across different patient populations, including those with difficult-to-treat migraine. Two pivotal 12-week, phase 3, placebo-controlled studies investigated quarterly and monthly dosing of fremanezumab in participants with chronic migraine (HALO CM) and episodic migraine (HALO EM). The efficacy of fremanezumab was further explored in individuals with difficult-to-treat chronic or episodic migraine in the 12-week FOCUS study, which enrolled participants who had previously experienced an inadequate response to 2-4 pharmacological classes of migraine preventive medications. The long-term efficacy of fremanezumab was assessed in a 12-month long-term study (HALO LTS), which enrolled participants completing the 12-week HALO studies and new participants. Across these studies, treatment with fremanezumab dosed quarterly or monthly provided significant reductions in the frequency of migraine days, headache days of at least moderate severity, and migraine- and headache-related disability compared with placebo. Sustained improvements were seen with long-term fremanezumab treatment. Subgroup analyses of participants with difficult-to-treat migraine (those with comorbid depression, overuse of acute headache medications, and concomitant use of other migraine preventive medications) demonstrated the effectiveness of quarterly or monthly fremanezumab in these populations. Ongoing studies are further exploring the potential benefits of fremanezumab in difficult-to-treat migraine and other headache and pain disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)179-190
Number of pages12
JournalEmerging topics in life sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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