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.
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.
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!