Conference Coverage

No increased risk of hypertension with erenumab?



Hypertension ‘not a barrier’ to treatment

Commenting on the findings, Richard B. Lipton, MD, Edwin S. Lowe professor and vice chair of neurology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York, noted that in theory blocking CGRP could increase blood pressure. However, he noted that the data and clinical experience do not suggest erenumab poses a serious risk.

“I have rarely seen new-onset hypertension with erenumab in the patients treated at our medical center. The few cases I have seen were in older adults with pre-existing hypertension,” he said.

The investigators’ review of clinical trial data together with global safety databases was a strength of their study, said Dr. Lipton. In clinical trials, patients are monitored carefully, and a placebo control group aids in the determination of background rates.

“In the trials, the incidence of new-onset hypertension or hypertension exacerbation was 0.9%, while the placebo rate was 0.2%,” said Dr. Lipton. “The absolute increase in the risk of hypertension was 0.6% or six cases per thousand: A low rate.” But clinical trials enroll carefully selected patients who do not represent the broad group of people treated with erenumab in clinical practice, he added.

The global safety data are more representative of patients who receive erenumab in real-world settings. The weaknesses of these data, though, are the lack of a control group and the incomplete ascertainment of data associated with spontaneous reporting.

Yet both types of studies, with their complementary strengths and weaknesses, indicated low rates of hypertension.

“The low incidence of hypertension, in my view, is not a barrier to the use of erenumab, though checking blood pressure after starting any new migraine therapy is prudent,” Dr. Lipton concluded.

The study was funded by Amgen. Dr. Dodick had no relevant disclosures. Dr. Lipton has consulted for and conducted studies funded by Amgen and by other companies that manufacture CGRP drugs. He has stock options in Biohaven.

A version of this article first appeared on


Next Article: