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Zavegepant nasal spray approved for acute migraine

15th March 2023

Pfizer has announced that zavegepant has become the first calcitonin gene-related peptide receptor antagonist nasal spray to receive approval by the FDA for the management of acute migraine.

According to a study using data from 2016, it was estimated that globally, migraine affects some 1·04 billion people and caused 45·1 million years of life lived with disability. Although there was a breakthrough in treatment of migraine during the early 1990’s with the introduction of triptans, it later emerged that the calcitonin-gene-related peptide (CGRP) pathway was important in the pathophysiology of migraine. While first generation drugs targeting this pathway, known as ‘gepants’ were effective, hepatotoxicity halted further development but did lead to new generation of gepants, which have been shown to be safe, efficacious and well tolerated.

Zavegepant clinical studies

Zavegepant nasal spray is a third generation gepant and the first, non-oral gepant. In a randomised, dose-ranging, placebo-controlled, phase 2/3 trial in adults aged ≥18 years with migraine, single doses of 10 or 20 mg, of the drug were shown to be effective for the acute treatment of migraine and with a favourable safety profile. Further data on the efficacy of zavegepant and which formed the basis for the approval, came from a double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled phase 3 trial in adults with a history of two to eight moderate or severe migraine attacks per month. The results showed that among those assigned to zavegepant, two hours after the treatment dose, a statistically significant higher proportion of zavegepant patients had freedom from pain and freedom from their most bothersome symptom. In addition, twice as many patients (16% vs 8%) given zavegepant reported pain relief after only 15 minutes. There were also significant differences (compared to placebo) for 13 of the 17 pre-specified secondary outcomes.

The trial also found that the drug was well tolerated with the most common adverse reactions reported in at least 2% of patients and at a frequency greater than placebo, were taste disorders (includes dysgeusia and ageusia), nausea, nasal discomfort and vomiting.

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