Migraines affect an estimated 10% of people worldwide. In a US survey, over 5% of men and 17% of women reported having migraine symptoms. Aimovig is a prescription medication manufactured by Amgen that is used for the preventive treatment of migraine attacks in adults. It is a subcutaneous (under the skin) injection that is given once a month. Aimovig may reduce your number of migraine days every month but it can cause some side effects. The most common side effects of Aimovig are injection site reactions and constipation. Rarely, Aimovig may cause really high blood pressure and allergic reactions.
Keep reading for a detailed overview of Aimovig, other common side effects, serious side effects, and other important information.
What is Aimovig?
Aimovig is a brand-name medication that contains the active ingredient, erenumab-aooe. It is a monoclonal antibody that belongs to a class of drugs called calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) receptor antagonists. It works by blocking CGRP proteins in your brain and nervous system. These proteins are thought to have a role in signaling pain and migraine symptoms.
Aimovig is a once-monthly injection that is FDA-approved to prevent episodic or chronic migraine headaches. Your healthcare professional should show you how to use your Aimovig autoinjector before you give your first dose.
What is the recommended dose of Aimovig?
Aimovig is intended for long-term use and should be used as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Aimovig comes as a solution inside prefilled syringes and prefilled autoinjector pens and is for subcutaneous use only. The recommended dosage is 70 mg injected under the skin of your thigh, upper arm, or stomach once a month. Some patients may benefit from a higher dosage of 140 mg once a month. Each 140 mg dose of Aimovig is given either as one subcutaneous injection of 140 mg or as two subcutaneous injections of 70 mg.
What are the common side effects of Aimovig?
Like any medication, Aimovig may cause side effects. The most common possible side effects reported in clinical trials when compared to placebo include:
Injection site reactions: Some people may experience pain, redness, or swelling at the injection site. These reactions are usually mild and resolve within a few days after the injection. To minimize discomfort during the injection, it is recommended to remove Aimovig from the refrigerator and let it reach room temperature for at least 30 minutes before use. Ensure that Aimovig is stored in its original packaging, away from direct sunlight, and avoid microwaving it.
Mild constipation: Aimovig can cause mild constipation, which may result in fewer than three bowel movements per week. Drinking plenty of water and consuming high-fiber foods can help alleviate constipation.
Muscle spasms: Aimovig can lead to muscle spasms or muscle tightening that you cannot control. These spasms are usually mild and go away on their own.
What are the serious side effects of Aimovig?
While serious side effects from Aimovig are rare, it is important you are aware of the potential risks. If you experience any of the following serious side effects, seek immediate medical attention:
Allergic or hypersensitivity reactions: Although allergic reactions were not reported in clinical studies, they can still occur. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction are hives, itching, and swelling of the face, mouth, tongue, or throat, leading to trouble breathing. You shouldn’t take Aimovig if you have a known allergy to erenumab-aooe or any of the inactive ingredients in this product.
Constipation with serious complications: Severe constipation, although not common, can occur after using Aimovig. If you experience severe constipation that does not go away or gets worse, call your healthcare provider for medical advice. In some cases, hospitalization or surgery may be necessary.
High blood pressure: Aimovig may cause an increase in blood pressure or worsen your existing hypertension. If you notice a significant increase in blood pressure or have concerns, contact your healthcare provider for further evaluation.
These are not all of the possible side effects of Aimovig. You should always seek medical advice from your healthcare provider for any questions or concerns about your medical condition or treatment. Read all prescribing information, medication guides, or drug information sheets that come with this medication. You can also report adverse effects to the FDA at www.fda.gov/medwatch or 1-800-FDA-1088.
How long do the side effects of Aimovig last?
Aimovig has a half-life of around 28 days, so you only take it once a month to prevent migraines. Some side effects such as increased blood pressure, constipation, or muscle cramps and spasms, could last just as long. However, most side effects are mild and go away on their own as your body adjusts to this medication. The most common side effect is injection site reactions. These will typically develop quickly and then pass within 1 to 3 days. More serious side effects such as high blood pressure, severe constipation, or an allergic reaction may require immediate medical assistance and hospitalization and can take up to a few weeks to resolve. In most of these cases, your healthcare provider will stop Aimovig until the complications are successfully treated.
Does Aimovig cause hair loss?
Hair loss was not reported as a side effect of the use of Aimovig during clinical trials. However, since it has been on the market, there have been reports of hair loss. It is not known whether Aimovig was the cause of hair loss in these patients. If you have experienced hair loss or thinning while taking Aimovig, call your healthcare provider as it could be a side effect of other medications or medical conditions.
What are some precautions with Aimovig?
Before starting Aimovig, inform your healthcare provider about any medical conditions you have, including allergies to rubber or latex or if you are pregnant, plan on becoming pregnant, or are breastfeeding. You should also tell them about any other medications you take as they could cause drug interactions. This includes any prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, or herbal supplements.
What are some alternatives to Aimovig?
If Aimovig does not work for you or if you cannot tolerate the side effects, there are alternative medications you can take. These include other CGRP agonists and monoclonal antibodies such as Ajovy (fremanezumab), Nurtec ODT (rimegepant), Qulipta (atogepant), and Emgality (galcanezumab). Other alternatives include Topamax (topiramate), Botox, and triptans such as Imitrex ODT (sumatriptan).