Qulipta is a brand-name oral tablet prescribed for migraine prevention. Qulipta contains the active drug atogepant.
You will find key information about Qulipta below.
- Drug class: calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) antagonists
- Drug form: oral tablet
- Generic available? no
- Prescription required? yes
- Controlled substance? no
- Year of FDA approval: 2021
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves prescription drugs such as Qulipta to treat certain conditions.
Migraine is a condition affecting the brain and nerves. When you have migraine, you experience repeated migraine episodes (also called migraine attacks).
Symptoms of a migraine episode typically include:
- moderate or severe throbbing headache on one side of the head that gets worse with movement
- nausea and vomiting
- increased sensitivity to light and sound
You may also experience sensory symptoms called an aura before or during the headache. These may include:
- seeing flashing or sparkling lights or zigzag lines
- having blank spots or patches in your vision
- feeling “pins and needles” sensations
- having trouble concentrating or speaking
A migraine episode can last between 4–72 hours. It can affect your ability to carry on with daily activities. Some people may also feel very tired or fatigued for a few days after the episode.
Depending on how often you have migraine episodes, your doctor may determine that you have episodic or chronic migraine. With episodic migraine, you have migraine episodes that affect you for up to 14 days each month. With chronic migraine, you have migraine episodes that affect you 15 or more days each month.
Qulipta is approved for both types of migraine. You take the drug every day to help reduce the number of migraine episodes you have each month.
To learn more about migraine and its treatment, visit our headache and migraine hub.
Effectiveness for migraine prevention
Qulipta has been found effective in helping prevent migraine episodes in people with either episodic migraine or chronic migraine. To find out how the drug performed in clinical trials, see Qulipta’s prescribing information.
Qulipta and children
At this time, Qulipta is not FDA-approved for use in children. The drug has not been studied in this age group.
You’ll typically take Qulipta alone to help prevent migraine episodes. However, you may still experience migraine episodes while taking this medication.
If you have a migraine episode while taking Qulipta, your doctor may recommend taking certain other drugs to treat your symptoms. These drugs may include:
- over-the-counter pain relievers such as:
- prescription pain relievers such as:
- triptans such as:
- ergot medications such as:
- dihydroergotamine (Migranal)
- ergotamine tartrate (Ergomar)
Note: While you take Qulipta, your doctor usually won’t prescribe another migraine medication that’s in the same drug class as Qulipta. Qulipta belongs to the drug class calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) antagonists. Examples of other CGRP antagonists include rimegepant (Nurtec ODT) and ubrogepant (Ubrelvy).
As with all medications, the cost of Qulipta can vary. The actual price you’ll pay depends on your insurance plan, if you have one, your location, and the pharmacy you use.
Keep in mind that you may be able to get a 90-day supply of Qulipta. If approved by your insurance company, getting a 90-day supply of the drug could reduce your number of trips to the pharmacy and help lower the cost. If you’re interested in this option, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or insurance company.
Before approving coverage for Qulipta, your insurance company may require you to get prior authorization. This means that your doctor and insurance company will need to communicate about your prescription before the insurance company will cover the drug. The insurance company will review the prior authorization request and decide whether the drug will be covered.
If you’re not sure whether you’ll need to get prior authorization for Qulipta, contact your insurance company.
To learn more about Qulipta and cost, see this article.
Financial and insurance assistance
If you need financial support to pay for Qulipta, or if you need help understanding your insurance coverage, help is available.
AbbVie, the manufacturer of Qulipta, offers a program called Qulipta Complete. This program provides a savings card and access to cost support staff. For more information and to find out whether you’re eligible for support, call 855-QULIPTA (855-785-4782). You can also visit the manufacturer’s website.
In addition, Optum Perks* may offer coupon options in your area. You can also visit Optum Perks to get price estimates of what you’d pay for Qulipta when using coupons from the site. Note that you cannot use Optum Perks coupons with any insurance copays or benefits.
To learn more about saving money on prescriptions, check out this article.
* Optum Perks is a sister site of Medical News Today.
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Qulipta may be available through a mail-order pharmacy. Using this service may help lower the drug’s cost and allow you to get your medication without leaving home.
You may be able to receive a 90-day supply of Qulipta if your doctor recommends it, so there’s less concern about running out of the medication. If you’re interested in this option, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or insurance company. Some Medicare plans may help cover the cost of mail-order medications.
If you don’t have insurance, you can ask your doctor or pharmacist about online pharmacy options.
Qulipta is not available in a generic form. A generic drug is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication. Generics tend to cost less than brand-name drugs.
What happens with migraine
Migraine episodes happen when certain changes occur in and around your brain. A protein called calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) plays a key role in causing these changes.
Levels of CGRP increase during a migraine episode. CGRP attaches to special sites called CGRP receptors found in various places in your brain and nerves. When CGRP attaches to these receptors, it causes:
- Inflammation (swelling) and vasodilation (widening) of blood vessels in and around your brain. This is a cause of migraine headache.
- Increased pain signaling in your brain. This worsens the migraine headache and can also increase sensitivity to light and sound.
What Qulipta does
Qulipta is a type of drug called an oral CGRP antagonist. It works by preventing CGRP from attaching to its receptors. The way a drug works is called its mechanism of action.
By blocking the action of CGRP receptors, Qulipta stops CGRP from causing the symptoms of a migraine episode. This helps reduce the number of migraine episodes that you have.
How long does it take to work?
Qulipta starts to work soon after you start taking it. However, it may take a few weeks before you notice fewer migraine episodes.
Qulipta can cause mild or serious side effects. The following lists contain some of the key side effects that may occur while taking Qulipta. These lists do not include all possible side effects.
For more information about the possible side effects of Qulipta, see this article. You can also talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can give you tips on how to manage any side effects that may concern or bother you.
Note: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tracks side effects of drugs it has approved. If you would like to notify the FDA about a side effect you’ve had with Qulipta, you can do so through MedWatch.
Mild side effects
Mild side effects* of Qulipta can include:
- reduced appetite
- weight loss
- elevated liver enzymes, which may be a sign of liver damage
- fatigue and tiredness†
Most of these side effects may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. However, if they become more severe or don’t go away, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
* This is a partial list of mild side effects from Qulipta. To learn about other mild side effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist, or view Qulipta’s prescribing information.
† For more information about this side effect, see “Side effect details” below.
Serious side effects
Serious side effects from Qulipta weren’t reported in clinical trials of the drug, but it’s possible they may still occur. Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 or your local emergency number if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.
Allergic reaction is a possible serious side effect of Qulipta. For more information about this side effect, see “Side effect details” below.
Side effect details
Here’s some detail on certain side effects this drug may cause.
In clinical trials, nausea was the most commonly reported side effect in people who took the drug. It was slightly more common in people who took higher doses of the medication.
It’s important to note that nausea is also a common symptom of migraine episodes, which Qulipta helps prevent. It’s still possible to have migraine episodes while taking Qulipta. (To learn more about other drugs that may be used with Qulipta, see the “Qulipta use with other drugs” section above.)
What you can do
Nausea from Qulipta may ease as your body gets used to the medication. Taking your daily dose with food may also help.
If you have nausea that’s bothersome or severe while taking Qulipta, talk with your doctor about ways to manage this side effect. They may recommend taking a lower dose of Qulipta. Or they may suggest taking antinausea medication, such as ondansetron or promethazine.
Constipation may occur while taking Qulipta. In clinical trials, constipation was among the more common side effects reported with the drug. It was slightly more common in people who took higher doses of the medication.
What you can do
You may be able to ease constipation due to Qulipta with simple lifestyle changes. These include getting enough gentle exercise, drinking plenty of fluids, and increasing the amount of fiber in your diet.
If you have constipation that’s severe or does not go away, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They may recommend taking a laxative medication. They may also recommend taking a lower dose of Qulipta.
Fatigue and tiredness
Fatigue, tiredness, or sleepiness may occur while taking Qulipta. These were among the more common side effects reported with Qulipta in clinical trials. They were slightly more common in people who took higher doses of the medication.
Keep in mind that you may also have fatigue and tiredness before, during, and after a migraine episode. It’s still possible to have migraine episodes while taking Qulipta. (To learn more about other drugs that may be used with Qulipta, see the “Qulipta use with other drugs” section above.)
What you can do
If you have fatigue, tiredness, or sleepiness while taking Qulipta, you should not drive or do other potentially dangerous activities, such as using machinery.
These side effects may ease as your body gets used to the medication. However, if you have fatigue or tiredness that’s severe or bothering you, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They may recommend a lower dose of Qulipta. Or they may recommend switching to a different medication to help prevent migraine.
Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction can include:
A more severe allergic reaction is rare but possible. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction can include:
- swelling under your skin, typically in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet
- swelling of your tongue, mouth, or throat
- facial swelling
- trouble breathing
Call your doctor right away if you have an allergic reaction to Qulipta, as the reaction could become severe. Call 911 or your local emergency number if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.
The Qulipta dosage your doctor prescribes will depend on several factors. These include:
- the type of migraine you have
- the frequency and severity of your migraine episodes
- your kidney function
- other medications you take
Typically, your doctor will start you on a low dosage. Then, they’ll adjust it over time to reach the amount that’s right for you. Your doctor will ultimately prescribe the smallest dosage that provides the desired effect.
The following information describes dosages that are commonly used or recommended. However, be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. Your doctor will determine the best dosage to fit your needs.
To learn more about Qulipta’s dosage, see this article.
Drug forms and strengths
Qulipta comes as a tablet that you take by mouth. It’s available in three strengths:
- 10 milligrams (mg)
- 30 mg
- 60 mg
Dosage for migraine prevention
The recommended dosage of Qulipta to help prevent migraine attacks due to episodic migraine is 10 mg, 30 mg, or 60 mg, taken once every day. Your doctor will determine the dosage that’s right for you.
For helping prevent migraine attacks due to chronic migraine, the recommended dosage of Qulipta is 60 mg, taken once every day.
What if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose of Qulipta, take it as soon as possible. However, if it’s nearly time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your next scheduled dose as usual. You should not take extra doses to make up for a missed dose.
To help make sure that you don’t miss a dose, try using a medication reminder. This can include setting an alarm or using a timer. You could also download a reminder app on your phone.
Will I need to use this drug long term?
Qulipta is meant to be used as a long-term treatment. If you and your doctor determine that Qulipta is safe and effective for you, you’ll likely take it long term.
Qulipta is not known to interact with alcohol. However, if you have certain side effects with Qulipta, these could be made worse by drinking alcohol. Examples of these side effects include fatigue, tiredness, and nausea.*
It’s important to note that drinking alcohol can trigger migraine episodes in some people. Qulipta helps prevent migraine episodes. If you know that alcohol is one of your migraine episode triggers, you should avoid drinking alcohol while you take Qulipta.
If you’re not sure what triggers your migraine episodes, talk with your doctor about keeping a migraine diary. This can help you work out potential triggers to avoid.
* To learn more about side effects, see the “Qulipta side effects” section above.
Qulipta can interact with several other medications. It can also interact with certain supplements.
Different interactions can cause different effects. For instance, some interactions can interfere with how well a drug works. Other interactions can increase side effects or make them more severe.
This section presents general information on the interactions Qulipta may cause. To learn more about Qulipta interactions, see this article.
Qulipta and other medications
Below is a list of medications that can interact with Qulipta. This list does not contain all drugs that may interact with Qulipta.
Before taking Qulipta, talk with your doctor and pharmacist. Tell them about all prescription, over-the-counter, and other drugs you take. Also tell them about any vitamins, herbs, and supplements you use. Sharing this information can help you avoid potential interactions.
If you have questions about drug interactions that may affect you, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Types of drugs that can interact with Qulipta include:
- Drugs that are strong CYP3A4 inhibitors. Taking Qulipta with a strong CYP3A4* inhibitor can increase the risk of side effects from Qulipta. If you take Qulipta with one of these drugs, your doctor will likely prescribe a 10-milligram (mg) dose of Qulipta. Examples of these drugs include:
- itraconazole (Sporanox, Tolsura)
- Drugs that are strong or moderate CYP3A4 inducers. Taking Qulipta with a strong or moderate CYP3A4* inducer can make Qulipta less effective than usual. If you take Qulipta with one of these drugs, your doctor will likely prescribe a 30-mg or 60-mg dose of Qulipta. Examples of these drugs include:
- carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Equetro, Tegretol)
- efavirenz (Sustiva)
- etravirine (Intelence)
- phenytoin (Dilantin, Phenytek)
- rifampin (Rifadin)
- Drugs that are OATP inhibitors. Taking Qulipta with an OATP† inhibitor can increase the risk of side effects from Qulipta. If you take Qulipta with one of these drugs, your doctor will likely prescribe a 10-mg or 30-mg dose of Qulipta. An example of this type of drug is cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune).
* CYP3A4 stands for cytochrome P450 3A4, which is a type of enzyme (a protein that helps with chemical changes in the body).
† OATP stands for organic anion transporting polypeptide, which is a type of protein.
Qulipta and herbs and supplements
Taking Qulipta with St. John’s wort can make Qulipta less effective than usual. St. John’s wort is an herb that some people take for depression. If you take Qulipta with St. John’s wort, your doctor will likely prescribe a 30-mg or 60-mg dose of Qulipta.
There are not any other herbs or supplements that have been specifically reported to interact with Qulipta. However, you should still check with your doctor or pharmacist before using any of these products while taking Qulipta.
Qulipta and foods
Grapefruit and grapefruit products can block the breakdown of Qulipta. This may cause the drug to build up in your body, increasing the risk of side effects. As a result, your doctor will likely recommend that you avoid consuming grapefruit products while taking Qulipta.
If you have any questions about eating certain foods with Qulipta, talk with your doctor.
You should take Qulipta according to your doctor’s instructions.
When to take
Qulipta comes as an oral tablet that you will take once per day. You can take your dose at any time of day. However, try to be consistent with the time of day you choose.
To help make sure you don’t miss a dose, try using a medication reminder. This can include setting an alarm or using a timer. You could also download a reminder app on your phone.
Accessible labels and containers
If you have difficulty reading the prescription label, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. Some pharmacies offer labels that have large print, braille, or a code you scan with a smartphone to convert text to speech. If your local pharmacy does not have these options, your doctor or pharmacist may be able to direct you to one that does.
If you have trouble opening medication bottles, ask your pharmacist if they can put Qulipta in an easy-open container. They also may be able to recommend tools that can make it simpler to open lids.
Taking Qulipta with food
You can take Qulipta with or without food.
Can Qulipta be crushed, split, or chewed?
Qulipta is meant to be swallowed whole. The manufacturer does not indicate whether you can crush, split, or chew these tablets. If you have trouble swallowing Qulipta tablets whole, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
It is unknown whether Qulipta is safe to take during pregnancy. When Qulipta was given to pregnant animals in animal trials, the drug had harmful effects on the developing fetus. However, clinical trials in animals don’t always predict what will happen in humans.
If you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant, talk with your doctor about the possible risks of taking Qulipta.
It is unknown whether Qulipta is safe to take during pregnancy. If you’re sexually active and you or your partner can become pregnant, talk with your doctor about your birth control needs while you’re taking Qulipta.
For more information about taking Qulipta during pregnancy, see the “Qulipta and pregnancy” section above.
It is unknown whether Qulipta passes into breast milk or whether it can affect a child who is breastfed. If you’re breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed, talk with your doctor about whether Qulipta is right for you.
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about Qulipta.
Does Qulipta treat migraine headaches while they’re happening?
No. Qulipta is approved to help prevent migraine episodes. The drug hasn’t been studied for treating migraine headaches while they’re happening. It is unknown whether Qulipta is effective for this use.
Talk with your doctor about how to treat migraine headaches that may still occur while you’re taking Qulipta. For examples of medications that your doctor may recommend, see the “Qulipta use with other drugs” section above.
Can older people take Qulipta?
Older people can likely take Qulipta. The drug is not expected to cause any specific problems in older people. However, clinical trials did not include enough people ages 65 years and older. So it is unknown whether older people respond to Qulipta differently than younger people.
If you’re age 65 years or older, your doctor will likely prescribe a low dose of Qulipta to start. If this does not cause any bothersome side effects, they may increase your dose if needed. Your doctor can answer any questions you have about taking Qulipta.
Will I lose weight while taking Qulipta?
It’s possible that you might lose weight while taking Qulipta. The medication can cause a decreased appetite in some people. Over time, this could lead to weight loss. However, it’s important to note that Qulipta is not FDA-approved for weight loss.
If you’re concerned about weight loss while taking Qulipta, talk with your doctor. They can recommend ways to maintain a weight that’s healthy for you.
Before taking Qulipta, talk with your doctor about your health history. Qulipta may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors affecting your health. These include:
- Allergic reaction. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to Qulipta or any of its ingredients, your doctor will likely not prescribe Qulipta. Ask your doctor what other medications may be better options for you.
- Kidney problems. If you have severe kidney problems, Qulipta could build up in your body. This could increase the risk of side effects. If you have severe kidney problems, your doctor may prescribe the lowest recommended dosage of Qulipta. Or they may suggest a different treatment for migraine.
- Liver problems. If you have severe liver problems, Qulipta could build up in your body. This could increase the risk of side effects. It could also worsen your liver problems. Due to this risk, doctors typically won’t prescribe Qulipta if you have severe liver problems.
- Pregnancy. It is unknown whether Qulipta is safe to take during pregnancy. For more information, see the “Qulipta and pregnancy” section above.
- Breastfeeding. It is unknown whether Qulipta is safe to take while breastfeeding. For more information, see the “Qulipta and breastfeeding” section above.
Note: For more information about the potential negative effects of Qulipta, see the “Qulipta side effects” section above.
Do not use more Qulipta than your doctor recommends. For some drugs, doing so may lead to unwanted side effects or overdose.
What to do in case you take too much Qulipta
If you think you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor. You can also call America’s Poison Centers at 800-222-1222 or use its online tool. However, if your symptoms are severe, call 911 or your local emergency number, or go to the nearest emergency room right away.
When you get Qulipta from the pharmacy, the pharmacist will add an expiration date to the label on the bottle. This date is typically 1 year from the date they dispensed the medication.
The expiration date helps guarantee that the medication is effective during this time. The
How long a medication remains good to use can depend on many factors, including how and where you store the medication.
You should store Qulipta tablets at room temperature between 68–77°F (20–25°C) in a tightly sealed container. If needed, you can keep the drug between 59–86°F (15–30°C) for brief periods. Avoid storing this medication in areas where it could get damp or wet, such as bathrooms.
If you no longer need to take Qulipta and have leftover medication, it’s important to dispose of it safely. This helps prevent others, including children and pets, from taking the drug by accident. It also helps keep the drug from harming the environment.
This article provides several useful tips on medication disposal. You can also ask your pharmacist for information about how to dispose of your medication.
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.