How long does it take for Aimovig to start working?
Medically reviewed by Carmen Fookes, BPharm. Last updated on April 8, 2020.
- For some people, Aimovig starts working within one month.
- However, it takes two to three months for Aimovig to start working in most people, with a halving in the number of headache days reported by 49% with the 70mg dose and 70% with the 140mg dose after this time.
- Aimovig does not work for everybody. If you have had no response at all after three months then it is unlikely to work.
Aimovig (erenumab) is a monoclonal antibody that was approved in May 2018 as a preventive treatment for migraine.
It works by blocking the CGRP receptor – CGRP (calcitonin gene-related peptide) is a protein that causes intense inflammation in the covering of the brain (called the meninges) and nerve endings and is thought to cause migraines. Aimovig belongs to the class of medicines known as CGRP inhibitors.
Aimovig is administered as a single subcutaneous injection once a month. It is usually given in addition to other preventive treatments.
Aimovig does not work for everybody. Some people benefit from Aimovig within a month. However, at least three months should elapse before determining if Aimovig is effective for each person or not.
What benefits can I expect from Aimovig?
Response varies among individuals. The following benefits have been reported from clinical trials:
- Episodic migraine: A overall reduction in headache days by two to four days per month (48 days per year)
- Chronic migraine: A overall reduction in headache days by six to eight days per month (96 days per year or 3 months migraine-free).
Less than 30% of people experienced a more than 50% decrease in the number of headache days after one month’s treatment. However, after two to three months of treatment, this number had increased to 49% experiencing a 50% decrease for the 70mg dose and 70% experiencing a 50% decrease for the 140mg dose.
People also noted that on the days they did not have a migraine, their heads felt clearer.
Aimovig also reduced non-headache symptoms such as difficulty concentrating, sensitivity to light, dizziness, and brain fog.
Who is most likely to benefit from Aimovig?
Aimovig is most likely to benefit people who have at least one of the following:
- Four or more migraine attacks per month
- Eight or more headache days per month
- Intolerable side effects from other preventive treatments
- A lack of response to other preventive treatments.
Research has shown that Aimovig is effective in:
- Episodic migraine
- Chronic migraine
- Migraine with aura
- Migraine without aura.
Because Aimovig is expensive, insurance companies have mostly limited access to this medication to people who have failed to benefit from two or three conventional preventive treatments.
What should I do if Aimovig is not working for me?
- Check how you are storing the medicine. Aimovig should not be exposed to heat or light and it should be kept in the middle shelf of your refrigerator, away from the freezer box and not in the door of the refrigerator. It should not be allowed to freeze. Poor storage of Aimovig may ruin the medicine.
- Review how you are administering Aimovig. Aimovig should be taken out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before use to allow it to achieve room temperature. Do NOT heat it with hot water or a microwave. The prefilled syringe should NOT be shaken, as this may ruin the medicine.
- Aimovig should not be administered if it has changed color or there are particles in it. Deliver the entire contents of the syringe for each dose.
- Talk to your doctor about increasing your dose of Aimovig to 140mg a month, if you are currently only administering 70mg per month and are yet to experience a benefit from Aimovig.
- Talk to your doctor about trying another type of CGRP inhibitor, such as Ajovy (fremanezumab) instead. Ajovy targets the CGRP protein directly and because it has a different way of working, it may work for you.
- Anti-CGRP Migraine Treatments: Your Questions Answered. American Migraine Foundation. Oct 1, 2018. https://americanmigrainefoundation.org/resource-library/anti-cgrp-migraine-treatments-your-questions-answered/
- Aimovig [Package insert] Reviewed Oct 2019 Amgen Inc https://www.drugs.com/pro/aimovig.html
- Lattanzi S, Brigo F, Trinka E et al. Erenumab for Preventive Treatment of Migraine: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Efficacy and Safety. Drugs. 2019 Mar;79(4):417-431. doi: 10.1007/s40265-019-01069-1.
- Are the new migraine medications working? Doctors say three recently approved migraine prevention drugs are helping people have fewer headaches. Harvard Health Oct 2019 https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/are-the-new-migraine-medications-working
- Aimovig users experience mixed results July 10, 2019, Healio Primary Care https://www.healio.com/primary-care/pain-management/news/online/%7B71546b2c-27a3-44ea-b815-ba742ab544ab%7D/aimovig-users-experience-mixed-results
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