The importance of an early onset of migraine prevention: an evidence-based, hypothesis-driven scoping literature review

Christopher Gottschalk, Dawn C. Buse, Michael J. Marmura, Bradley Torphy, Jelena M. Pavlovic, Paula K. Dumas, Nim Lalvani, Andrew Blumenfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Recently approved migraine preventive therapies facilitate rapid control of migraine activity, potentially improving patients’ lives and minimizing the societal burden of migraine. This review synthesizes available evidence on rates and timing of early onset of migraine prevention and identifies patient-level outcomes related to early onset prevention. This evidence-based scoping review identified all available clinical trial evidence regarding the early onset of prevention of migraine, under the hypothesis ‘Patients with migraine (episodic or chronic) report additional benefits when receiving an approved migraine preventive treatment that demonstrates an early onset of prevention’. Early onset of prevention was defined as migraine preventive benefits within 30 days post-administration. PubMed, EMBASE, and CINAHL were searched for publications between 1988 and 2020. Overall, 16 publications described 18 studies. All studies were conducted in approved treatments [four anti-calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) monoclonal antibodies and one chemodenervation agent] in patients with episodic/chronic migraine; no publications were identified for traditional oral agents for early migraine prevention. Compared to placebo, erenumab (three studies) reduced weekly migraine days within 1 week; fremanezumab (six studies) increased reports of no headache of at least moderate severity on Day 1 and significantly reduced migraine frequency within 1 week; galcanezumab (three studies) significantly reduced the mean number of patients with migraine beginning Day 1 and each day of the first week; eptinezumab (four studies) significantly reduced migraine attack likelihood on Day 1 by > 50% versus baseline; and onabotulinumtoxinA (two studies) reduced headache and migraine days within 1 week. Four publications described function, disability, and quality of life improvements as early as Week 4; none reported cost–benefit. Anti-CGRP monoclonal antibodies (erenumab, fremanezumab, galcanezumab, and eptinezumab) and a chemodenervation agent (onabotulinumtoxinA) provide clinically relevant benefits during the first treatment week. Literature describing clinically relevant benefits regarding early onset of prevention in patients with migraine is limited.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalTherapeutic Advances in Neurological Disorders
StatePublished - 2022


  • clinical benefits
  • early onset
  • migraine
  • prevention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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