How does this medication work? What will it do for me?
Galcanezumab is a monoclonal antibody which belongs to the class of medications called calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) antagonists. It is used to prevent migraines for adults who experience at least 4 migraine days per month.
It is also used to reduce the frequency of headaches during a period of cluster headaches, when other treatments to prevent cluster headaches have not worked, or have not been tolerated.
This medication works by binding to the protein calcitonin gene-related peptide. Increased levels of this protein in the blood have been linked to migraines and episodic cluster headaches.
This medication may be available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms or approved for all of the conditions discussed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here.
Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.
Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.
What form(s) does this medication come in?
Each 1 mL of sterile, preservative-free, clear, colourless-to-slightly-yellow solution contains 100 mg of galcanezumab. Nonmedicinal ingredients: L-histidine, L-histidine hydrochloride monohydrate, polysorbate 80, sodium chloride, and water for injection.
This medication is available in single-use pre-filled syringes.
Each 1 mL of sterile, preservative-free, clear, colourless-to-slightly-yellow solution contains 120 mg of galcanezumab. Nonmedicinal ingredients: L-histidine, L-histidine hydrochloride monohydrate, polysorbate 80, sodium chloride, and water for injection.
This medication is available in single-use pre-filled syringes or single use pre-filled pens for injection.
How should I use this medication?
To prevent migraines, the recommended starting dose of galcanezumab is 240 mg (2 injections of 120 mg each) injected subcutaneously (under the skin). After the first dose, the regular dose is 120 mg injected subcutaneously once a month. Galcanezumab is intended to prevent migraines. It should not be used for the immediate treatment of migraines.
To decrease the number of cluster headaches within a cluster period, the recommended dose is 300 mg (3 injections of 100 mg) injected subcutaneously once a month. It should be started at the beginning of a cluster of headaches. After 3 weeks your doctor will decide if you should continue treatment. If you do continue treatment, no more than 300 mg of galcanezumab should be administered per month during the cluster period. This medication should not be used after the end of a cluster period or during the remission time.
If you are using this medication at home, your doctor will ensure that you understand exactly how to use it. Make sure you ask any and all questions necessary to ensure that you use it exactly as prescribed. Please read the package insert for information on how to inject the medication properly. It is important to visit your doctor regularly while you are using this medication to ensure that the medication is working safely and effectively.
Before injecting the medication, check it carefully for particles or discolouration. If the solution is discoloured, has particles in it, or is cloudy, discard the syringe or pre-filled pen and use another one.
Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.
It is important to take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor.
If you miss a dose, inject it as soon as possible and continue with your regular schedule. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
Store this medication in the refrigerator in its original packaging to protect it from light and moisture. Remove the pen or syringe from the refrigerator 30 minutes before injecting it, to allow it to come to room temperature. Do not freeze or shake this medication. Keep this, and all medications, out of the reach of children.
Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.
Who should NOT take this medication?
Do not take this medication if you are allergic to galcanezumab or any ingredients of the medication.
What side effects are possible with this medication?
Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent.
The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.
The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.
Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.
- itching, redness, swelling, or pain at the injection site
Although most of the side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not seek medical attention.
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:
- signs of a serious allergic reaction (e.g., abdominal cramps, difficulty breathing, nausea and vomiting, or swelling of the face and throat)
Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.
Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?
Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Allergic reactions: Galcanezumab may cause allergic reactions such as a rash, hives, or itching. On rare occasions, a severe allergic reaction may occur, causing difficulty breathing, abdominal cramps, nausea and vomiting, or swelling of the throat (anaphylaxis). An allergic reaction may occur within minutes of injecting the dose, or the reaction may be delayed to almost a month after the dose. If you experience any signs of a serious allergic reaction, get immediate medical attention.
Cardiovascular disease: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been determined for people who have recently had heart attack, angina, stroke, high blood pressure, or other heart conditions. If you have heart problems or high blood pressure, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately. It takes several months for the body to remove this medication. If you plan to become pregnant, talk to your doctor to determine how long you should wait after stopping galcanezumab.
Breast-feeding: It is not known if galcanezumab passes into breast milk. If you are breast-feeding and are taking this medication, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.
Children: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children.
Seniors: The safety and effectiveness of this medication have not been established for adults 65 years of age or older.
What other drugs could interact with this medication?
Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications that you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:
- stop taking one of the medications,
- change one of the medications to another,
- change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
- leave everything as is.
An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.
All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2023. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/drug/getdrug/Emgality