Miss Migraine tries Aimovig!

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The Adventures of Miss Migraine is an ongoing column about my life with chronic migraine.

Back in the spring, I wrote about my excitement over Aimovig, the first FDA-approved pharmaceutical treatment developed specifically to prevent migraine. (The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette even interviewed me about it!) In October, my health insurance provider approved my doctor’s request for the drug, and I administered the first dose on October 15.

And you know? I think it’s working. I’m not cured, but I’ve had fewer migraines overall this past month, and the migraines I’ve had have been less severe. When I have had a severe migraine, the recovery time is shorter.

Now, of course, Aimovig isn’t just a pill you can pop. It’s an injection that you administer to yourself once a month. And it’s a pain in the butt to store.

A room thermometer next to an Aimovig box.

You have to keep it refrigerated, but not frozen. When you’re ready to use it, you have to let it come to room temperature for at least 30 minutes, but room temperature can only be between 68 and 74 degrees Fahrenheit. Once it’s been out of the fridge for more than 30 minutes, you have to use it; it cannot be re-cooled.

I live in an old, drafty house with mega powerful radiators, so fine-tuning the temperature in any room that precisely may prove challenging. It’s either freezing or a sauna, with very little in between.

But if it works? Hell, I’ll buy a temperature-controlled incubator if I have to! I did buy a nifty little room thermometer so I can be sure it’s warming up in the proper temperature range.

Once Aimovig comes to room temperature, it’s time to administer the injection. It works similarly to an Epipen. You take the safety cap off, push it against your skin, and hit the start button that triggers the needle.

I’m no stranger to self-administered injections, as I have to inject myself with B12 twice a month because of my pernicious anemia. But, damn, the Aimovig injection hurt! The needle is a much larger gauge than what I use for the B12 injection, and it’s spring loaded. Holding it against my skin for the whole time was more challenging that I expected.

Aimovig box and injector pen.

Still—if it works, I’ll deal with the 30 or so seconds of pain and a little soreness at the injection site.

Aimovig comes with excellent, thorough instructions, and my doctor (bless her) went over them with me in detail before she sent the prescription to my pharmacy. My pharmacist, Fred (as you can imagine, we’re real tight), told me I was the first patient to get Aimovig from my pharmacy. Apparently most other insurance companies in the area are not covering it yet.

Even my insurance company only covers it at the “non-preferred brand name” level, which comes with an $80 co-pay (same as my triptan, Axert, which also comes with an $80 co-pay despite being a generic.) So, that’s not great. Thankfully, I’m able to get Aimovig for $5 with the Aimovig Ally program.

The lack of coverage and the high cost of the co-pay are going to be a real problem for a lot of migraine sufferers, so if you have a few moments, give your insurance company a call and ask them if they will cover Aimovig, and ask them why they aren’t if they say no.

I’m due for my second injection November 15, and by December 15 I should have a fuller picture of exactly how much this new drug will help me. Fingers crossed!

Share your experience with Aimovig in the comments below!

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7 Responses

  1. acooknick says:

    My mom took her first dose a few days ago. She hasn’t noticed any results yet, but it’s encouraging that you thought it helped! Fingers crossed for both of you!

    • Kelly Lynn Thomas says:

      I might see if I can double my dose for December. I do think it’s helping, but it’s definitely not a miracle cure. =/

  2. Lisa says:

    Your experience is similar to mine – everything seems a little bit better, but not amazing. I started in September and will double my November dose to see if that gives me better results. My insurance is paying for it – I qualify for medicaid and have UPMC for You. I think my co-pay is only $3. I’m crossing my fingers for a miracle with a double dose.

    • Kelly Lynn Thomas says:

      I’ve got my fingers crossed for you. Have you taken the double dose yet?

      • Lisa says:

        I took my double dose a couple of weeks ago – again, nothing earth shaking, but maybe a little bit better. If I had to pay a big copay, I don’t know that I’d continue using it. I am curious to try one of the other ones that attacks the same issue from the other direction.

        • Kelly Lynn Thomas says:

          Yeah, I was reading about those, too! Curious to see if they work for people that Aimovig doesn’t, and also how they can be used alongside other preventatives. Fingers crossed you will find something that’s really effective for you soon! I’m still taking all my other preventatives, but I’m hoping to stop at least one of them soonish, because it messes with my sleep cycle.

          • Lisa says:

            I was wondering about combining them too! Seems like it could be an awesome double whammy! Someone asked if I’d be willing to be the test subject since the combination approach hasn’t been tested – oh hell yes!! I tried to explain the desperation we feel, but no one that hasn’t suffered truly understands.

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