Emgality (galcanezumab-gnlm) and Aimovig (erenumab-aooe) are brand-name solutions for subcutaneous injection. They’re both prescribed to help prevent migraine episodes.
This article explains the main similarities and differences between Emgality and Aimovig. If you’re considering taking one of these drugs, discussing this information with your doctor can help you decide whether one of these treatments may be right for you.
Key differences between Emgality and Aimovig
These are a few of the main differences between Emgality and Aimovig:
- Dosage. Emgality and Aimovig are injected once per month. However, Emgality requires a loading dose, and Aimovig does not. (See the “Dosages, forms, and administration“ section.)
- Conditions treated. Emgality and Aimovig are both prescribed to help prevent migraine episodes, but Emgality is also prescribed to treat cluster headaches. (See the “Uses of Emgality vs. Aimovig“ section.)
- Side effects. Aimovig can cause side effects, such as constipation or high blood pressure. Emgality isn’t known to cause these side effects.
Here’s information about the biosimilar* status for Emgality and Aimovig, as well as details on their active ingredient.
|Drug class||calcitonin gene-related peptide blocker||calcitonin gene-related peptide blocker|
* A biosimilar medication is a drug that’s similar to a brand-name drug (the parent drug). Biosimilar medications are also called biologics. Biologic drugs are made from living cells. Since it’s not possible to copy a biologic drug exactly, biosimilar drugs are drugs that are similar to the original biologic. Biosimilars are as safe and effective as the original biologic drug.
Emgality and Aimovig have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat the following:
- Both Emgality and Aimovig are FDA-approved to help prevent migraine episodes.
- Emgality is also FDA-approved to treat episodic cluster headaches.
Here’s a quick look at the dosage and administration of Emgality and Aimovig for the conditions both drugs help prevent or treat.
Dosage for migraine episodes
Below are the typical doses of Emgality and Aimovig to help prevent migraine episodes. Before starting either of these medications, talk with your doctor about the best dosage for you.
|Form||subcutaneous injection||subcutaneous injection|
|Strengths||120 milligrams per milliliter (mg/mL) and 100 mg/mL||70 mg/mL and 140 mg/mL|
|Dose||loading dose: 240 mg|
maintenance dose: 120 mg
|70 mg (in some cases, your doctor may increase the dose to 140 mg)|
|Frequency||once per month||once per month|
|Given by||self (see below)||self (see below)|
Before starting treatment with Emgality or Aimovig, your doctor or pharmacist will teach you how to inject the medication. Emglaity and Aimovig are both injected subcutaneously. They can be injected into the upper arm, thigh, or stomach as directed. Emgality can also be injected into the buttocks.
Do not inject your medication into an area that’s bruised, discolored, or scarred. If you have questions about how to inject your dose of medication, see the prescribing information for Emgality or Aimovig. You can also talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
Both Emgality and Aimovig work to help prevent migraine episodes. These drugs can cause some of the same side effects, as well as some different ones. Some of the side effects reported in clinical trials of these drugs are mentioned below.
For more details about side effects of the two drugs, see our side effect articles about Emgality and Aimovig. You can also refer to the Emgality prescribing information and Aimovig prescribing information.
Mild side effects
The following table lists some of the more commonly reported mild side effects of Emgality and Aimovig. The table may also include mild side effects that are less common but that you might have concerns about in some cases.
|Mild side effects||Emgality||Aimovig|
|injection site reactions, such as discoloration or itchiness||✓||✓|
|muscle cramps or spasms||✓|
|mild allergic reaction||✓||✓|
These side effects may be temporary, lasting a few days to weeks. If the side effects last longer than that, bother you, or become severe, be sure to talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
Serious side effects
The following table lists the reported serious side effects of Emgality and Aimovig.
|Serious side effects||Emgality||Aimovig|
|high blood pressure||✓|
|severe allergic reaction||✓||✓|
If you have serious side effects from Emgality or Aimovig, call your doctor immediately. If the side effects feel life threatening or you believe you’re having a medical emergency, call 911 or your local emergency number right away.
Below are answers to some common questions about Emgality and Aimovig.
How do Emgality and Aimovig compare with Ajovy?
All of these medications are given as a subcutaneous injection. However, the dosing for each drug is different. Aimovig and Emgality are injected once per month. However, Ajovy can be injected once per month or once every 3 months.
Emgality, Aimovig, and Ajovy all belong to the same drug class, called calcitonin gene-related peptide blockers. However, even though these drugs work in similar ways, they contain different active ingredients. So some side effects, such as allergic reaction or injection site reactions, may be the same. Other side effects may be different. For example, Aimovig can cause constipation. Emgality and Ajovy aren’t known to cause this side effect.
If you have questions about the best option to help prevent migraine episodes, talk with your doctor.
Is it safe to take Emgality and Aimovig together?
No, it’s not safe to take Emgality and Aimovig together. Both drugs belong to the same drug class, called calcitonin gene-related peptide blockers. So they work in similar ways to help prevent migraine episodes. Taking these medications together can increase your risk of side effects occurring.
If you have questions about the best treatment option for you, talk with your doctor.
Emgality and Aimovig are effective options to help prevent migraine episodes.
Here’s a brief look at whether Emgality or Aimovig was found to be more effective for helping prevent certain conditions.
Comparison study. A study compared the effectiveness of Emgality and Aimovig to help prevent migraine episodes. This study showed that Aimovig may be a more effective option to help prevent migraine episodes. However, both drugs did work to prevent migraine episodes in studies.
Keep in mind that trials and reviews of trials may not apply to your individual health situation. Be sure to talk with your doctor to determine whether Emgality or Aimovig may be right for you.
Prescribing information. Here’s a brief look at how effective Emgality and Aimovig were found to be in clinical trials.
For details about how these drugs performed in clinical trials, see the prescribing information for Emgality and Aimovig. Keep in mind that trial results may not apply to your individual health situation.
Treatment guidelines. Another way to find out whether a drug is considered effective is to look at treatment guidelines.
When an organization includes certain drugs in treatment guidelines, it means research has shown the drug to be safe and effective. Calcitonin gene-related peptide blockers, including Emgality and Aimovig, are recommended as treatment options to help prevent migraine episodes in guidelinesfrom the American Academy of Family Physicians.
How much Emgality or Aimovig costs depends on the treatment plan your doctor prescribes, your insurance plan, and your pharmacy. You can visit Optum Perks* for price estimates of Emgality and Aimovig.
Both Emgality and Aimovig are brand-name drugs. The two medications do not come in biosimilar form. A biosimilar drug is one that’s close to a biologic drug. Biologics are made from living cells. Since it’s not possible to copy a biologic drug exactly, biosimilar drugs are drugs that are similar to the original biologic. Biosimilars are as safe and effective as the original biologic drug.
Talk with your doctor or pharmacist to learn about the generic form of either drug.
* Optum Perks is a sister site of Medical News Today.
Emgality and Aimovig may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors that affect your health. These drugs share the same precautions. Some of these precautions are mentioned below.
If any of the following medical conditions or other health factors are relevant to you, talk with your doctor before starting Emgality or Aimovig.
|if you’ve had an allergic reaction to either drug or any of its ingredients||✓||✓|
|if you have high blood pressure||✓|
|if you’re pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant||✓||✓|
|if you’re breastfeeding or thinking about breastfeeding||✓||✓|
Switching between Emgality and Aimovig is possible.
If you’d like to know more about switching between Emgality and Aimovig, talk with your doctor. They can give you more details and help determine the best course of action for your personal situation. Even if two drugs treat the same condition or are in the same drug class, your body can still respond differently.
It’s important that you do not stop, start, or switch any of your drug treatments without your doctor’s recommendation.
Some key points to remember when comparing Emgality and Aimovig include:
- Emgality requires a loading dose, but Aimovig does not
- Aimovig can cause additional side effects, such as constipation or high blood pressure, which Emgality isn’t known to cause
If you’d like to learn more about Emgality or Aimovig, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can help answer any questions you have about similarities and differences between the drugs. They can also help determine whether one drug or the other might work more effectively for you.
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.