Emgality’s Side Effects: What to Know

Medically Reviewed By Melissa Badowski, PharmD, MPH, FCCP

Emgality: Introduction

Emgality is a brand-name prescription drug. It’s a type of drug called a calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) antagonist. It contains the active drug galcanezumab-gnlm. Emgality comes as a liquid solution and is given by subcutaneous injection.

Emgality is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for long-term use in adults to:

Similar to other drugs, Emgality injections (shots) may cause side effects. Read below for information about possible side effects, including common, mild, and serious ones.

For a general overview of Emgality, including details about its uses, see this article.

If you’d like to take Emgality, search here to find a healthcare professional who might prescribe it.

Emgality: More common side effects

Some side effects of Emgality injections may be more common than others. These side effects may last only a few days to weeks. However, some side effects may last longer or become severe or bothersome. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have concerns about any side effects with Emgality.

In Emgality’s clinical studies, the side effect that occurred more often was:

  • injection site reaction*

* For more information about this side effect, see Emgality: Side effects explained below.

Emgality: Mild side effects

Emgality can cause mild side effects, one of which is listed below. However, this list doesn’t include all possible mild side effects. To learn more about Emgality’s side effects, view the drug’s prescribing information.

Emgality’s mild side effects include:

  • injection site reaction*

Note: After the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves a drug, it tracks side effects of the medication. If you develop a side effect while taking Emgality and want to tell the FDA about it, visit MedWatch.

* For more information about this side effect, see Emgality: Side effects explained below.

Emgality: Serious side effects

It’s possible to have serious side effects with Emgality. One serious side effect is listed below, but this list may not include all possibilities. To learn more about Emgality’s side effects, view the drug’s prescribing information.

Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects with Emgality. However, if you think you’re having a medical emergency or have life threatening side effects, call 911 or your local emergency number.

Serious side effects of Emgality include:

* An allergic reaction is possible after taking Emgality. However, this side effect was not reported in clinical studies. For more information about this side effect, see Emgality: Side effects explained below.

Emgality: Common questions about side effects

Here are some common questions about the drug’s side effects and answers to them. Talk with your doctor if you have other questions about this drug.

Does Emgality cause weight gain or weight loss?

No. Weight gain and weight loss were not reported in clinical studies of Emgality.

However, other medications that may be used to prevent or treat migraine may cause these side effects. For example, weight loss has been reported with topiramate (Topamax, others). And weight gain has been reported with divalproex sodium (Depakote, Depakote ER) and amitriptyline.

If you have questions or concerns about your weight while using Emgality, talk with your doctor.

Is hair loss or constipation a side effect of Emgality?

No. Hair loss and constipation were not reported as side effects in clinical studies of Emgality.

However, other medications used for preventing or treating migraine may cause these side effects.

Erenumab-aooe (Aimovig) is a calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) antagonist prescribed to prevent migraine headaches. (Emgality is also a CGRP antagonist.) Constipation is a side effect of Aimovig. However, Emgality isn’t known to cause constipation.

Topiramate (Topamax, others) belongs to a different drug class, but it’s also prescribed to prevent migraine headaches. Topamax has been reported to cause hair loss.

If you have concerns about hair loss or constipation during Emgality treatment, let your doctor know.

Where can I find reviews of Emgality? Do they mention side effects?

To find patient reviews published by the drug’s manufacturer, click here. These reviews focus more on how Emgality prevents migraine than on its side effects.

However, keep in mind that everyone’s experience with medications, including Emgality, can differ. How your body responds to a drug may not be the same as how someone else’s body responds.

Talk with your doctor if you’re interested in learning more about treatment with Emgality. They can help develop the best migraine management plan for you.

Does stopping Emgality treatment cause withdrawal symptoms?

No, stopping Emgality treatment isn’t known to cause withdrawal symptoms. (Withdrawal symptoms are side effects that can happen after you stop taking a drug that your body is dependent on. With dependence, your body needs the drug in order to function like usual.)

However, stopping Emgality may cause your migraine headaches to return or worsen. It’s important that you do not stop taking Emgality unless specifically told to do so by your doctor.

If you’re interested in stopping Emgality, talk with your doctor. They can review other treatment options with you.

Does Emgality cause fatigue or joint pain?

No. Fatigue and joint pain were not reported in clinical studies of Emgality.

However, migraine headache is known to cause fatigue. And Emgality is used to prevent migraine headaches. One clinical study Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to source found that people with more intense migraine headaches were more likely to experience fatigue.

Also, joint pain is a reported side effect of frovatriptan (Frova), a drug prescribed to treat migraine headaches. However, Frova belongs to a drug class called triptans, which is different than Emgality’s drug class.

If you experience fatigue or joint pain while taking Emgality, tell your doctor. They may be able to recommend ways to help manage these symptoms.

Can Emgality cause long-term side effects?

No, Emgality isn’t known to cause long-term side effects.

The only side effects reported in Emgality’s clinical studies were injection site reactions and allergic reactions. To learn more about these side effects, see “Emgality: Side effects explained” directly below.

Emgality: Side effects explained

Here’s detailed information about some of Emgality’s side effects.

Injection site reaction

Injection site reactions were commonly reported in Emgality’s clinical studies. These are reactions that occur at the place where Emgality is injected. (For more information about how to inject Emgality, see the drug’s prescribing information.)

Injection site reactions may include:

What to do

Injection site reactions caused by Emgality typically go away on their own within a few hours.

However, if you have injection site reactions that bother you or don’t go away, talk with your doctor. They can suggest the best injection site reaction treatment depending on your symptoms. These treatments may include:

  • applying a cold compress to the area
  • using an over-the-counter (OTC) drug to manage itching, such as a hydrocortisone cream
  • taking an OTC pain reliever, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)

Allergic reactioon

As with most drugs, some people can have an allergic reaction after taking Emgality. A more severe allergic reaction is rare but possible.

These reactions weren’t reported in Emgality’s clinical studies. However, they have occurred since the drug was approved for use.

Possible symptoms of mild and serious allergic reactions are listed in the table below.

Mild allergic reaction symptoms Serious allergic reaction symptoms
• itching trouble breathing
rash • swelling in your throat or mouth
flushing • swelling under your skin, possibly in your hands, feet, lips, or eyelids

If you have an allergic reaction to Emgality, call your doctor right away. This is important to do because the reaction could become severe.

However, if you’re having a medical emergency or your symptoms feel life threatening, call 911 or a local emergency number.

Emgality: Precautions

Be sure to talk with your doctor about your health history before you take Emgality. This drug may not be the right treatment option for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors that affect your health.

Allergic reaction. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to Emgality or any of its ingredients, your doctor will likely not prescribe Emgality. Ask your doctor what other medications may be better options for you.

Consuming alcohol during Emgality treatment

There’s no known interaction between drinking alcohol and taking Emgality.

However, it’s important to note that drinking alcohol can be a trigger for migraine headaches in some people. (A trigger is something that can cause a migraine headache to occur.)

If you drink alcohol, talk with your doctor. They can advise how much is safe to consume while taking Emgality.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding during Emgality treatment

It’s not known if it’s safe to take Emgality while pregnant. Animal studies didn’t show any side effects. However, how a drug affects animals doesn’t always predict what will happen in people.

If you and your doctor decide that you’ll take Emgality while pregnant, consider joining the Emgality pregnancy registry. Pregnancy registries collect data on the safety of using certain medications while pregnant. They provide important information that helps doctors and patients make decisions about their care.

To learn more, including how to join the registry, view this site or call 833-464-4724.

It’s not known whether it’s safe to breastfeed while taking Emgality. Talk with your doctor to learn more about the risks and benefits.

Emgality: What to discuss with your doctor

Talk with your doctor or pharmacist to find out more information about Emgality. If you have questions about the drug’s side effects, your pharmacist or healthcare professional can help answer them for you.

In addition to discussing Emgality with your doctor, you may find the following articles helpful in learning more.

  • Overview of Emgality. To read an overview of Emgality, see this article.
  • Drug comparison. To learn how Emgality compares with Aimovig, Ajovy, Botox, and Topamax, read this article
  • Details about your condition. Learn more about cluster headache and migraine, which Emgality is used to manage.

Disclaimer: Healthgrades 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.

Medical Reviewer: Melissa Badowski, PharmD, MPH, FCCP
Last Review Date: 2022 Apr 17
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