Emgality (galcanezumab-gnlm) is a brand-name prescription medication. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved it for use in adults to help prevent migraine and treat episodic cluster headaches. “Episodic” refers to a cycle of headaches that can last from a week to a few months. You may then have no headaches for 6 months to a year and start having them again.
Here are some fast facts about Emgality:
- Active ingredient: galcanezumab-gnlm, which is a biologic
- Drug class: calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) antagonist
- Drug forms: prefilled pen and prefilled syringe
- FDA approval year: 2018
If you’re taking Emgality to help prevent migraine headaches, you’ll likely take it long term. If you’re taking Emgality to treat cluster headaches, you’ll usually take the medication until your headache period is over.
As with other drugs, Emgality injections can cause side effects. Read on to learn about potential common, mild, and serious side effects. For a general overview of Emgality, including details about its uses, see this article.
Note: Emgality does not have a generic-name version or come in biosimilar form.
Emgality shots can cause certain side effects, some of which are more common than others. These side effects may be temporary, lasting a few days to weeks. However, if the side effects last longer than that, bother you, or become severe, be sure to talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
The most common side effect reported by people who used Emgality in clinical trials was:
- reaction at the injection site*
* For more information about this side effect, see “Side effect specifics” below.
Mild side effects can occur with Emgality use. This list doesn’t include all possible mild side effects of the drug. For more information, you can refer to Emgality’s prescribing information.
Mild side effects* that have been reported with Emgality include:
- reaction at the injection site
- mild allergic reaction
These side effects may be temporary, lasting a few days to weeks. However, if the side effects last longer than that, bother you, or become severe, be sure to talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
Note: After the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves a drug, it tracks side effects of the medication. If you develop a side effect while taking Emgality and want to tell the FDA about it, visit MedWatch.
* For more information about these side effects, see “Side effect specifics” below.
Serious side effects are not likely to happen with Emgality. For more information, you can refer to Emgality’s prescribing information.
If you develop serious side effects while taking Emgality, call your doctor right away. If the side effects seem life threatening or you think you’re having a medical emergency, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number.
Serious side effects that have been reported include:
- severe allergic reaction*
* To learn more about this side effect, see the “Side effect specifics” section below.
Long-term side effects
Emgality isn’t known to cause any long-term side effects. If you have questions about side effects of Emgality, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Emgality may cause several side effects. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about the drug’s side effects.
Does Emgality cause weight gain or weight loss?
A change in weight was not a side effect of Emgality in clinical trials. The drug is not known to cause weight loss or weight gain.
Many other medications that are used for migraine prevention are associated with weight changes. For example, weight loss has been reported with topiramate (Topamax, Trokendi XR) and Qulipta. Weight gain has been reported with medications such as propranolol (Inderal LA, Inderal XL) and amitriptyline.
If you’re concerned about weight gain or weight loss, talk with your doctor.
Is hair loss a side effect of Emgality?
No, hair loss is not a reported side effect of Emgality.
Hair loss has been reported with another migraine prevention medication called topiramate (Topamax, Trokendi XR).
Your doctor can help address any concerns you have about hair loss.
Where can I find reviews from people who have had side effects from Emgality?
The manufacturer of Emgality has a site with patient stories about taking Emgality. However, keep in mind that how the drug affects someone else may differ from how it affects you. This could be because you have different health histories or you take different additional medications. Other factors can set you apart as well.
Your doctor is the best person to talk with about what side effects to expect during Emgality treatment. They can review the medication’s clinical trials with you and explain the experiences of people who received Emgality.
Does stopping Emgality treatment cause withdrawal symptoms?
It’s not likely. Withdrawal symptoms are not a side effect that is seen with Emgality. Withdrawal symptoms are side effects that can occur when you stop taking a drug that your body has become dependent on.
Keep in mind that if you’re using Emgality to help prevent migraine and you stop taking the drug, your migraine episodes may worsen.
It’s important that you do not stop taking Emgality unless you first talk with your doctor.
Should I expect constipation with Emgality?
No, people who took Emgality in clinical trials did not report having constipation.
Constipation is known to occur with a similar migraine medication called erenumab-aooe (Aimovig).
If you experience constipation, talk with your doctor or pharmacist about treatment options.
Is fatigue one of Emgality’s side effects?
Fatigue is not a reported side effect of Emgality. However, sometimes fatigue may trigger a migraine episode. And after a migraine episode, you may feel fatigued.
Your doctor can advise you on how to manage fatigue that may occur during Emgality treatment.
Learn more about some of the side effects that Emgality may cause. To find out how often side effects occurred in clinical trials, see the prescribing information for Emgality.
Reaction at the injection site
Emgality can cause reactions where it’s injected into the skin. These may include:
In clinical trials, injection site reactions were a common side effect.
What you can do
If you experience injection site reactions with Emgality, talk with your doctor. They may have some tips to help you manage this side effect. For example, injection site reaction treatment may include using a cold compress on your skin where the reaction occurred.
As with most drugs, Emgality can cause an allergic reaction in some people.
Symptoms can be mild or serious and can include:
- skin rash
- swelling under your skin, typically in your lips, eyelids, feet, or hands
- swelling of your mouth, tongue, or throat, which can make it hard to breathe
What you can do
For mild symptoms of an allergic reaction, call your doctor right away. They may recommend ways to ease your symptoms and determine whether you should keep taking Emgality. However, if your symptoms are serious and you think you’re having a medical emergency, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number.
Be sure to talk with your doctor about your health history before you take Emgality. This drug may not be the right treatment for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors that affect your health. These are considered drug-condition or drug-factor interactions. The conditions and factors to consider include:
Allergic reaction. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to Emgality or any of its ingredients, your doctor will likely not prescribe Emgality. Taking the drug could cause another allergic reaction. Ask your doctor what other medications may be better options for you.
Alcohol with Emgality
There’s no known interaction between alcohol and Emgality. However, alcohol may worsen migraine and cluster headaches. If alcohol affects you in either of these ways, you should try to avoid it. Your doctor can help answer any questions you have.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding while using Emgality
Here’s some information about pregnancy, breastfeeding, and Emgality.
Pregnancy. It’s not known if Emgality is safe to take during pregnancy. Because of this, your doctor will likely recommend that you do not take Emgality while you’re pregnant.
If you’re pregnant or planning a pregnancy, talk with your doctor. They can advise you on the benefits and drawbacks of the drug.
If you become pregnant during Emgality treatment, your doctor may suggest that you enroll in a
Breastfeeding. It’s not known if Emgality is safe to take while breastfeeding. If you’re breastfeeding or considering it, talk with your doctor. They can help weigh the risks and benefits of Emgality to find the right treatment for you.
Side effects with Emgality aren’t common. If they occur, they’re usually mild. If you’d like to learn more about Emgality, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can help answer any questions you have about side effects from taking the drug.
Besides talking with your doctor, you can do some research on your own. These articles might help:
- More information about Emgality. For details about other aspects of Emgality, refer to this article.
- Drug comparison. Learn how Emgality compares with Aimovig and Ajovy.
- Dosage. For information about Emgality’s dosage, refer to this article
- Cost. To find out more about the cost of Emgality, see this article.
- A look at your condition. For details about headache and migraine, see our hub on those topics.
Disclaimer: Medical News Today has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.