Aimovig is manufactured by Novartis, and is a new migraine injection medication for those that suffer with 4 or more migraine days per month.
Erenumab, the drug used in Aimovig, is suitable for both chronic migraine patients, and episodic migraine patients, with studies showing that after 4.5 years, around 77% of patients experienced at least a 50% reduction in monthly migraine days whilst using Aimovig.
Aimovig comes in injection form and should be administered into the abdomen or thigh once every 4 weeks.
How does Aimovig work?
Aimovig works by blocking CGRP molecules. CGRP stands for calcitonin gene-related peptide, and is involved in migraines – potentially even causing them. CGRP levels are known to rise during a migraine attack, contributing to the pain that patients feel.
By blocking these CGRP molecules, Aimovig (erenumab) can prevent migraines from happening in the first place by stopping CGRP levels from rising.
It works differently to other migraine treatments such as triptans, which stimulate serotonin to reduce inflammation. Aimovig is taken on a 4-weekly basis for prevention, whilst triptans are taken when you first feel a migraine coming on.
Aimovig comes in an injection form, but rather than botox injections that are administered into the head and neck, aimovig (erenumab) is a subcutaneous injection that goes into the abdomen or thigh, which are far less painful to inject into.
Is Aimovig safe?
Aimovig is safe for most migraine sufferers – providing that you have at least 4 or more migraine days per month. However, there are some groups of people that haven’t been studied in clinical trials, so should err on the side of caution and avoid the medicine unless advised otherwise by a doctor.
One group of people that aimovig hasn’t been trialled with is patients with a cardiovascular disease. For this reason, we advise that you don’t buy aimovig and instead make an appointment with your own GP, or speak to a pharmacist about whether it would be safe for you to take.
Aimovig should also not be used in children (under the age of 18) or pregnant women. It should also be avoided for the first few days after giving birth. If you’re unsure of if you can start using Aimovig again after having a baby, ask your local pharmacist or regular GP for advice.
The only other people that should avoid using Aimovig are those with an allergy to erenumab, or patients with an allergy to rubber latex (this material is used in the cap of the pen).
Erenumab injections may also be unsafe if the solution is cloudy, tinged yellow, or contains particles. Always check your injection pens before using them to make sure that the solution is clear.
Aimovig side effects
Aimovig is a prescription medicine, so it doesn’t come without side effects. As with any medicine, the benefits of the treatment are hoped to outweigh the side effects, but this isn’t always the case.
Some of the most common side effects that patients experience whilst using Aimovig include:
- Allergic reaction
- Muscle spasms
- Injection site reactions
- Mild skin reactions
If you do notice any side effects, it’s a good idea to tell your doctor or pharmacist about them, especially if they’re bothering you. For things like constipation, there may be medicines such as lactulose or senna that might help. However, if you experience an allergic reaction or notice signs of anaphylaxis, you should seek immediate medical help and not wait for your regular GP.
If the side effects do outweigh the benefits, Aimovig might not be suitable for you.
Aimovig injections are only available on the NHS in Scotland. They’re usually only offered to patients that have 15 or more headache days per month, and 8 of these must be migraine days. This group of people must have also tried at least 3 other treatments without success before being considered for erenumab injections.
Unfortunately, NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) have rejected Aimovig injections for use on the NHS in England, with the reasoning that the treatment didn’t show enough evidence of being more clinically effective than botox injections.
Unfortunately for migraine sufferers, this means that the preventative treatment is only available privately for those that live in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
Does Aimovig work?
Whilst the migraine treatment is still new, clinical trials do show that ernumab injections work in most patients. Recently, manufacturer Novartis announced that around 77% of patients that had been taking Aimovig for 4.5 years had experienced at least a 50% reduction in monthly migraine days. This also shows that the medicine is effective when used for a long period of time.
Other studies and clinical trials showed that some patients that suffered with chronic migraine ended up experiencing episodic migraines instead (less frequent) due to the use of Aimovig.
It’s important to know that Aimovig is a medicine, and like any other prescription treatment, people can react differently to it. It may work for some and not for others, but the data from trials and studies looks promising.
Aimovig is generally prescribed after you’ve already tried other treatments without success. If this is your first time using migraine medication, you should have a look at the alternatives to Aimovig first. Most of these are migraine tablets that fall under the triptan family of medicines (as mentioned earlier).
Some of the alternatives that have been around for a while and are available to buy online following a consultation include:
Doctor4U currently offers most of these medicines to patients that suffer with migraine attacks. All you need to do to order the migraine treatment is fill out a short consultation form for migraines.
Aimovig is currently only available privately for residents in England, Northern Ireland, and Wales. This means that you will have to buy Aimovig after obtaining a private prescription for it.
Doctor4U has GCM-registered doctors that can prescribe medicines following an online consultation. If you think Aimovig treatment is right for you, please complete a patient consultation form for migraines, answering in as much detail as you can. If one of our doctors agrees that erenumab injections are safe for you after reviewing your consultation, they will generate a prescription and your migraine prevention medication will be shipped to you.
Advice on Addiction and Medication Restrictions
If you are at all worried or concerned about an addiction to any type of medication, we urge you to speak to a professional for help and advice. Below are links to organisations that can help.
Talk To Frank
NHS Help & Advice On Drug Addiction