Comparing CGRP Blockers for Migraine Prevention

Comparing CGRP blockers is the next big challenge for Migraine patients.
Side-by-Side Comparison of Aimovig, Ajovy, and Emgality

32 Comments

  1. No hair loss on Emgality, but I am going off because I have severe sore throat for the past 3 months after injection. Injection site very reddened, even when I ice injection site beforehand. Emgality is a miracle. I am going to try Ajovy to see if the throat thing does not occur.

  2. I started Aimovig in August 2018 -it took 3 mos to work. It stopped working in May 1019. I next will try Emgality

  3. So far I’ve only tried Emgality for my 28 + years of chronic migraines. Mine began after TBI in the 1st Gulf War, so I’m not sure any of these meds will help. 3 months in and I’m stopping Emgality. No reduction in headaches, in fact a slight increase; now up to 27 or 28 days / month. Side effects of extreme fatigue, extreme swings in body temperature – hot flashes, night sweats and then extremely cold. Co-morbidity with fibromyalgia and that pain level has shot through the roof. Overall not a great first experience with CGRP inhibitors.

  4. Has anyone taken any other types of drugs like zomig when you are on any of the once a month shots when you do get a migraine, Thanks Jamie

    1. Author

      James,

      There are three categories of treatments that most people with Migraine need:

      1. Preventives
      2. Abortives
      3. Rescues

      Preventives are treatments that reduce the number of attacks and their severity. These new CGRP blockers are in the preventive category.

      Most people with Migraine will still have attacks while on a preventive, just not as many (hopefully). So, we all need treatments to stop attacks when they happen. You mentioned Zomig, which is one of many medications in the “abortive” category. All triptans (Zomig, Imitrex, Axert, Relpax, Maxalt, Amerge, and Frova) are abortives. DHE, Cafergot, and Migranal are also abortives.

      Then there’s a third category: rescue treatments. These are medications we can use when our abortives fail (which happens sometimes to all of us). These medications are designed to keep us out of the ER. They don’t always work, but when they do, we can rest comfortably at home instead of dealing with a busy, loud emergency room. Some common rescue treatments are: anti-nausea medications (Compazine, Phenergan, Reglan, Zofran), prescription NSAIDs (Toradol, Voltaren, Motrin), barbiturates (Fioricet, Fiorinal), or (in severe cases) opioids (Demerol, Vicodin, Percocet, hydrocodone, etc.).

      Here are a few links that will explain all of this in greater detail:
      Preventive, Abortive, & Rescue Migraine Treatments
      A Plethora of Migraine Preventive Treatment Options
      Going to the ER for Migraine Is Not the Best Choice

  5. No constipation on emgality and it works faster than the others

  6. I have been in the Amgen study for Aimovig for about 5 years and have been on the drug for about the last 3 years. This drug has given me my life back! I can’t say enough positive things about it. I have no side effects, but I may get 1 migraine every 2-3 months (no drug can completely prevent them) still is better than at least 1 migraine per week which is what I was experiencing before I started the trial. Obviously, it may not work for everyone, but ask you doctor if it may work for you. Give it a try. I’m concluding the study now and my insurance doesn’t cover it so I’m going to try the access card option that Amgen offers and see how that goes.

  7. Very frustrated. I have had migraines for 5 years that had me bedridden. I may have had 3 or 4 days a month headache free. Started Aimovig in October 2018. It was a miracle drug for me! Got me down to 2 or 3 migraines a month. Has worked well with no side effects. Now my insurance company is trying to make me try Ajovy or Emgality. Medicine is not a one size fits all! If they are all the same price, why should the insurance company care which one I take? And on top of that they have not paid for one dose! I have gotten it free from Aimovig since I began taking it. I am extremely tired of the insurance companies thinking they know better than the doctors!

  8. Jeannie
    I have been taken adjovy for 4 months now and I love it so much, I’ve had Migraines since I was 10 years old I started this med and I love it ,I think it’s amazing the only side effect that I have is right on the shot the spot where I take the injection I get a reaction , beside that am happy now! I usually get about 15/20 headaches a month and now am down to 2.I do say when I get one is stronger then ever.

  9. I have chronic silent migraine which means constant dizziness , pounding, tremors , imbalance and nausea . I had one shot of Aimovig which did nothing and I m having great difficulty in coping , am practically housebound . Can anyone help? Thanks

  10. I have been on Aimovig 140 for 3 months and it has been a miracle drug for me. Nothing has worked in the past until this. I am still in disbelief. My only side effect is constipation.

  11. My experience so far. Have had chronic migraines for 12 years. Was taking nortriptylene as daily preventative. Have tried a long list of other preventatives and rescue meds, as well as the Botox treatment. None were effective for me. Nortriptylene kept headaches at a manageable level but the severe fatigue was getting unbearable. Tried Aimovig. Started with 70mg dose as I weaned myself off the nortriptylene. Seemed to be going ok for first 3 months. Then headaches started returning. Increased dose to 140mg and got sick right away. Major migraine and nausea for a couple of weeks. Went back on nortriptylene to get headaches under control. At the end of the month tried to go back down to the 70mg dose but headaches persist. I think I’m done with Aimovig now. Planning to try Emgality next.

  12. I started Aimovig last September (I was on the assistance program with 0 copay) and noticed a significant reduction in the severity of the migraines (pain level from 8 down to 2 and 3-4 per week) after my first set of injections (I am taking 140mg/month). The frequency reduced to only 2-4 migraines per month after 3 months. I have continued to have the silent migraines and either Fioricet or the triptans help depending on how soon I realize what’s going on. The only side effect I had was the constipation. I started noticing that the migraines were coming back in January. They started to build about 2-1/2 weeks after the injection and I had to take the triptans because the pain was between 4-7. I asked my dr about possibly taking one injection of 70mg every 2 or so weeks and she thought that would be fine but my insurance won’t cover Aimovig until I try something else and they recommend I try Ajovy. I haven’t taken the Aimovig for April and surprisingly I haven’t had many bad migraines (only about 7 at a level 5) since my last injections in March. I haven’t noticed any hair loss, but I have been slowly losing my hair for years. While these are all new on the market and there are still things we are learning about them, I believe it’s like any medication…it will work for some but not all and regardless of the known side effects, it will effect us all in different ways due to our body chemistry. I highly recommend talking to your doctor if you have side effects that are not known. Also, I found a migraine journal app (Migraine Buddy by Healint) that has been a great help in tracking them. Hopefully, some day, we will know more about migraines and can get better meds. Aimovig, Ajovy and Emgality are a step in the right direction.

  13. I am taking Aimovig and the first two months were good (I am experiencing the silent migraines others have spoken about). However, 3rd month was terrible. My doctor suggested the increase from 70 to 140. Wondering if it’s worth it or I should try Emgality. Has anyone increased the Aimovig and had success?

  14. I was on Emgality for several months and the reduction in migraine was outstanding. I was down to one a month, which is miraculous considering I used to get 5 to 7 a week. My insurance plan covers only Aimovig, so I started Aimovig several months ago and am not pleased with the efficacy in my case. I now have gone to daily severe headache and neck muscle tightness, along with the constipation many complain about. So, I am going back to Emgality and pay the piper, so to speak, as I don’t have commercial insurance that will allow free or low co-pays. Nonetheless, migraine free is worth the costs.

    1. Your story parallels mine exactly. Going to CVS today to pay $630 for an Emgality pen. Haven’t tried Ajovy yet but I don’t like the idea of putting a needle into my body. I’ll wait until the pen comes out. I also discovered that steroid trigger point injections in my neck worked wonders! – at least for about 6 weeks. You can’t do it too often but I had a glorious month of very little pain. Wow!

    2. I am about to take my first dose of Emgality after having been on Aimovig for about six months. The Aimovig seemed to stop working and actually made my headaches worse. Anyway, my point of replying is that I have signed up for 12 months for the Amgality free. Have you tried to do that?

  15. Not sure if any of you experiencing hair loss have stopped using opioid pain medication in the months prior, but that’s what happened to me. I was in pain meds and stopped them completely, just to have my hair start falling out in clumps about 4 months later. I was so scared and would cry. I didn’t lose it all or anything remotely close to it, but it was scary. My body went through shock, I guess. Anyhow, that was my experience. It wasn’t a new medication, it was stopping the old ones!

  16. I have tried all three of them and the Emgality seems to be working the best. My headaches are not breaking through as before and seem better controlled. I have chronic daily migraines so they are not gone completely but there seems to be some improvement. Aimovig made me very constipated and stayed with me for a month after stopping the shot. I hope there is more improvement as the months go on.

  17. Emgality- HAIR LOSS. Significant side effects along with relief. Fewer migraines and reduced intensity, offset by many silent migraines, digestive changes and major hair loss.
    Clumps and thinning, especially with loading dose. In addition, fatigue and strange out of body feeling. Reduction in pain in exercise- not a positive.
    Given alarming concerns about long term side effects may tip me giving up.

  18. I’ve completed 6 months on Aimovig 70mg, just took 7th shot. I’m not sure it’s making much difference. I’ve had migraines daily or near daily (24-31 days a month) for 20 years, with an occasional 16-18 day month. I began Aimovig last Sept. No change until 3rd dose Nov, when I had only 16 days and used less triptans. I was so excited! I experienced a few “silent migraines” that month that Leanne here describes. Then Dec. I was daily again, maybe less triptans. Jan only17 mig days and less triptans. Feb was daily again, 26 out of 28 days. March was every single day until 3 days ago when I finally got a 2 day break. (Today is March 19,2019). I’m not sure if this is any different than pre-Aimovig, but I see Doc in April. Hoping they’ll up the dose to 140 or change it to another CGRP. Has anyone seen a difference between the 70 and 140? I know we are all different and respond to different things.

  19. I have been taking Aimovig for approximately 4 months now. I am very happy with the results. I am down from 3 to 4 headaches a week to 3 to 4 a month. The only side effect (if that’s what it is) is called a silent migraine which I never had before. I had to search the web because I wasn’t sure what I was experiencing. Apparently it’s a migraine without the pain but you still experience some or all of the other symptoms of a migraine. It’s a very strange experience. I have had 2 silent migraines since starting Aimovig (I think) but I am still thrilled for not having the Migraines as often and the pain that goes along with them. I would highly recommend Aimovig. I still inject my sumatriptan shots when I get a migraine.

    1. Ive experienced hairloss in my 4th month, have you?

  20. Ajovy has been a miracle for me. I feel like I’ve found the head transplant I’ve always half-jokingly said I wanted. I can easily tell when the 30 days is up and my old head starts coming back to life.

  21. Yes Sarah. I did 4 months of AIMOVIG and had MAJOR hair loss in clumps!! Continuously! I’m horrified. Plus severe anxious, nervous, heart palpitations, shakiness/trembling symptoms for a couple of weeks after each injection. Terrible joint pain. Insomnia. And it made my migraines MORE severe and still constant.
    Switched to Emgality 2 months ago. No bad side effects but continued hair loss! Not sure if it’s the Aimovig still in my system or if ALL these CGRP meds have balding as an unlisted side effect! Who would take them if they listed “Hair Loss” as a known side effect? Emgality didn’t make my migraines worse but there’s not substantial improvement to justify possible continued hair loss. So I’m stopping it too. Done with all of them.

    1. To “Z” (and Sarah, who asked the question about hair loss…. I’m not a doctor but I’ve read all the studies on CGRPs, and hair loss is NOT a side effect. The only S/E’s these drugs have are possible irritation at the injection site and constipation, only with Aimovig. This is what makes them so attractive when compared to the horrible S/E’s of the other preventives. There are many different reasons for hair loss, and most have nothing to do with medications. Some are related to illness. I know this first hand. I had the same thing. I mean huge clumps of hair coming out and it lasted for 9 or 10 months. I was afraid I’d go bald. It finally stopped, but my hair is much thinner. This was about 7 years ago. I know how you feel, and it’s very scary.

      Please go see a dermatologist who can diagnose the cause for your hair loss, and don’t just assume it is from the AImovig. My hair loss began at a time when I had started a new medication, and I wondered if that was the cause. But I chose to see a dermatologist and was diagnosed with something that had nothing to do with meds. The timing was just coincidental. I suspect that’s what you are experiencing.

      If you were getting any relief from the Aimovig, I just encourage you to stay on it, or get back on, and seek out a dermatologist to find out the reason your hair loss. Don’t just assume it’s the drug and stop. Chances are, it is related to something else, and the sooner you get a diagnosis the sooner you will feel better about it.

    2. Hair loss is definitely a side effect! When a drug is first introduced, all side effects are not known. Now that it is actually on the market and more people are using it, hair loss is absolutely a side effect. My daughter had hair loss from Aimovig. Not so much from Ajovy, but she had to stop that too because she had itching that became severe by the 4th injection. It’s a shame because it helped her migraines SO MUCH. I am wondering if Emgality would have the same effect on her.

    3. I agree 100% with the hair loss issues. I’ve used Aimovig since last November and that’s the only change in my meds. In fact, I’ve tapered off of one drug because of the injections, so there is no other explanation
      . It’s sad that you have to choose between hair loss and migraine relief. There has to be a better way.

  22. Do any of the migraine injections cause hair loss or thinning?

  23. This is the best time to be a CH or Migraine sufferer. So much medical progress leading the way to several possible relief options

    1. Not sure any time is the best time to be a migraine sufferer, but I get your point lol…

    2. Agree… it’s never a good time to get migraine however, I’ve been taking aimovig for 5 months now. My migraine frequency has reduced to approx 2-3 per month vs 3-4 per week. Yes, constipation has been a side effect but it is so worth have less migraines.

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