As I shared on my instagram page, I recently had the chance to start the latest preventative migraine medication that was approved by the FDA this past May, Aimovig. I heard about this new class of medication for the first time during the 2017 Migraine World Summit. With cautious optimism, I listened to world class migraine specialists talk about a new era of migraine treatment coming down the pipeline and wondered if I would be a good candidate.
The more I learned about the CGRP monoclonal antibody medication trials, the more hopeful I became; both about the prospect of responding well to this treatment after failing so many others, and also about what a milestone this was for the migraine community. The fact that this new class of medication would be the first in over 30 years designed specifically to treat migraine made me feel encouraged about future progress for migraine disease treatment. I remember getting tears in my eyes when I read the NY Times article announcing the release of this medication. In that article, one of the national leaders in headache medicine said, “this is really an amazing time for my patient population and for general neurologists treating patients with migraine.”
Having been closely following the CGRP trials for so long, I’d already decided that if I had the chance to try this new drug I would…ASAP. As my chronic migraine diagnosis has been incredibly resistant to traditional preventative medications and challenging to treat, my neurologist prescribed me the 140mg dose of Aimovig (a dose of 70mg can also be prescribed). I gave myself my first round of injections the first week of July and am eager to see how the next few months progress.
Here are the steps I went through to get the medication prescribed and delivered:
Despite my excitement about getting to try Aimovig, on the day of my first round of injections I also had to push through a lot of anxiety. Beginning new medications is always difficult for me, and my struggle to control my worries about adverse reactions can be really challenging to move through. This has been something that I’ve dealt with each time I start a new preventative medication or try a different abortive. I do my best to avoid looking up side effects, but most of the time I’ve already discussed them with my doctor, and it’s hard for me to mentally accept the idea of more medication going into my body (pre-migraine I used to hate even taking Advil).
I knew I would have some anxiety starting this new drug, so this time, instead of spinning with my anxiety, I attempted to step back, observe it and let it be. What was an incredibly exciting moment, was also one that scared me a lot. The fact that I was not only trying a new medication for me, but also, a new one on the market, presented me with more nerves than normal. After my second injection, I started to cry, feeling overwhelmed with emotions of gratitude, hope and fear. I felt guilty and irrational for being anxious. Asking myself questions like, how can I be anxious when I am so lucky to even have the chance to try this medication? But as I know all too well, anxiety isn’t rational, and being critical when in the middle of it only makes things worse.
The next morning, when I still couldn’t shake the unease of having yet another new medication swimming around in my body, I decided that it was time to make a choice: to be anxious or to be hopeful. I also considered how much mindset can impact treatment, and resolved that if mindset was going to impact the outcome of this new treatment for me in any way, I was going to tip the scale in a direction that would lead to favorable outcomes. I reached out to my favorite health coach, Sarah Small and asked for help coming up with some supportive mantras that I could use to replace the anxious thinking patterns running through my head. This is one of my favorite ways to intervene when I know I’m struggling with my thoughts, as it gives me something direct and tangible to replace when the voice of worry and fear pipes up.
Healing mantras to replace Aimovig anxious thoughts:
By choosing to mindfully monitor my thoughts regarding starting this new treatment, I allowed myself to create a story that would support my healing. Although my default would have been to continue worrying about having a new drug in my body and the possibility of long or short term side effects, I chose a different narrative. I changed the script and told myself to believe and trust that this treatment will help me and is helping me. If I have learned one thing through chronic migraine, it is that when I can’t control what is going on around me, my greatest strength is to control my thoughts and mindset.
It’s still too soon to tell what my Aimovig story will be, but I look forward to sharing my progress with you guys and hopefully being one of the #superresponders I read about in the clinical trials! I’ve been told by my doctors that it can take up to 2-3 months to see results, so for now my update is no update. If you’ve tried Aimovig already and are willing to share your experience below in the comments, I’d love to know ⬇️
Happy healing and thank you for reading!
I share each step along my road to wellness and healing and hope that in doing so I can inspire you along your own path. Thank you so much for being here.
I am in the same exact stage as you, I just took my first dose on the 17th. I am equally as anxious and excited for this new drug. I’m just hoping it’s finally the one that works. Keep sharing how it goes, it will be nice to see how someone else is responding! Thanks!!
I definitely plan to do another update. Not much to report yet, but still hopeful Fingers crossed that you get some relief!!
Thanks for your honesty in describing all the myriad of emotions that goes along with trying yet another medicine albeit the first of it’s kind in the prevention of migraine. It’s newness is worrysome as no one truly knows the long term effects but your positive message is so helpful… very very grateful!!! So, I tried 70mg shot of Aimovig at the end of June. This pass Monday, I increased to 140mg. My neurologist wanted to be cautious as I too have had such difficulty with side effects of almost all medicines. Luckily, I haven’t experienced any side effects and am trying to stay hopeful that this will give me my life back. I can relate and empathize with all of your feelings and am going to "borrow" your mantras to quell my anxiety and remain positive and hopeful!!!
Thank you so much for your sweet note! Yes, there are definitely a myriad of emotions that come along for the ride when starting any (esp such a new) medication. So great that you haven’t had much trouble with side effects, compared to the many other preventatives I’ve been on I have found the side effects of aimovig much more manageable too. Hopeful that the 140 dose brings you some relief!
I started Aimovig mid July and will take my 2nd dose tomorrow! So far my migraines have been half as many as my normal 20+ days a month! My neck stopped aching as well! I’m ready to start living my life again after years of constant pain!
Wow, that is so encouraging! I am thrilled for you, I can’t imagine what a gift it feels like to start getting some low/no pain days back. Please keep us updated!
I tried the first dose in Oct, second in November, third in Dec and will take my fourth in a few days. I still have rough streaks…..several days in a row of migraines. But, then I’ll have many good (really clear, good) days afterward that are different and are definitely attributed to the Aimovig. I’m trying to not be too hopeful and not too discouraged, just move through the process of months to see how I do and enjoy the long stretches of clear and very normal days that are not my normal before Aimovig. No one knows yet if the Aimovig will continue to increase the good days, according to my neurologist. Let’s just go with this and see where it takes us. It’s a hope that I’ve not had, and I’ll take it.