Emgality (galcanezumab)

Emgality is a preventive treatment for migraine. It is part of a class of medications called calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) monoclonal antibodies.

CGRP monoclonal antibodies and other preventive treatments are often recommended for people living with chronic or debilitating migraine attacks. There are lots of options for preventive treatments, so it can be helpful to know what is available before speaking to your doctor. This article will help you better understand Emgality as one of your options.

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Medically reviewed by Dr Trudy Cheng. Last updated October 30, 2022.

What is Emgality?

Emgality (galcanezumab) is a preventive migraine medication. It is part of a class of medications called calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) monoclonal antibodies. There are several other CGRP monoclonal antibody medications available in Australia.

Migraine is a neurological disorder that can be debilitating. It causes many symptoms including head pain, nausea, light/sound sensitivity, visual disturbances, and more.

Your doctor might recommend that you take a preventive treatment (like Emgality) if you have chronic or debilitating migraine attacks.

Image of Emgality injector pen

At a glance

Brand nameEmgality
Active ingredientGalcanezumab
ManufacturerEli Lilly Australia
Dosage240mg (first month) then 120mg every month
AdministrationSubcutaneous injection (self-administered)
Cost per dose$263 (full cost); $30 (PBS pricing); $7.30 (PBS pricing with a concession card)
PBS Status?Listed on PBS (June 1, 2021).

Cost & access in Australia

Emgality is available in Australia for the preventive treatment of chronic migraine in adults. You will need to get a prescription from a neurologist who will assess your medical history to see if this medication is appropriate for you. If you are not seeing a neurologist at the moment, you can find one in our doctor directory.

Emgality is available under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). Patients must fulfil the following criteria to be eligible for PBS coverage:

  • You have a diagnosis of chronic migraine
  • Three other oral preventive treatments have failed (for example through a lack of efficacy or intolerable side effects)
  • Your script is prescribed by a neurologist

Under the PBS, Emgality is $30, or $7.30 for concession card holders. If you aren’t eligible for PBS coverage you can still access this medication at the full price ($263) via the Ember program run by Eli Lilly Australia.

Side effects

Like most medications, Emgality may cause side effects. In most cases, they will be minor and temporary (1). However, more serious complications or reactions are possible that require immediate medical attention.

Keep in mind that side effects can vary depending on your age, other health conditions you might have, or other medications you take.

Mild side effects (1) 

  • Injection site reactions (e.g. red skin, pain)
  • Vertigo (dizziness or a spinning sensation)
  • Constipation
  • Itching
  • Rash

Speak to your doctor if you have any of these less serious side effects and they worry you.

Serious side effects (1)

  • Sudden signs of allergy, i.e. rash, itching, hives, swelling of the face, lips, tongue or other body parts, trouble breathing.
  • Swelling of the face, lips, mouth, tongue or throat which causes difficulty swallowing or breathing

Call your doctor immediately or seek emergency medical attention in a hospital if you experience any of these serious side effects.

In three studies assessing the safety and efficacy of Emgality, side effects were generally mild & went away within one or two days (2, 3, 4). The most common symptoms were pain, redness, or itching around the injection site. 

Other side effects could occur in some people. After receiving medical advice about any side effects you experience, you or your neurologist can report them to the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

How it works

Emgality is part of a group of drugs called calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) monoclonal antibodies. These are the newest type of preventive migraine medication, and the first preventive treatment to be designed specifically for migraine.

CGRP is a substance in the brain that is thought to play a key role in migraine. Emgality is designed to bind to the CGRP molecules, preventing them from binding to CGRP receptors (illustrated in the diagram below).

Diagram of CGRP molecules showing how Emgality works to prevent migraine


Emgality comes in a pre-filled autoinjector pen containing one 120mg dose. 

  • The first dose is 240mg (two injections)
  • After that, you will have one 120mg dose each month (1).

Emgality is most effective if you take it at the same time every month, so it could be helpful to set a reminder or mark the day in your calendar. If you forget to take a dose, just inject it as soon as possible and resume monthly dosing. Speak to your doctor if you’re not sure what to do.

This medication is not a cure – unfortunately, there is no cure for migraine at this stage. Emgality is designed for long-term use in order to prevent migraine, so your attacks could return if you stop taking it. You can consult your doctor if you have any questions about how long you should take Emgality.

How is Emgality administered?

Emgality is injected subcutaneously (under the skin) with an autoinjector pen. It can be injected into your abdomen, thigh, upper arm, or buttocks.

Example of someone using an injection pen such as Emgality

A medical professional will teach you how to self administer this safely. If you are uncomfortable with self administration, your family member, GP, nurse or neurologist could help with this.

Given that injection site pain, redness, and itching are possible side effects, you could keep a cold compress or ice pack at hand to reduce this side effect.

How effective is Emgality?

Just like other migraine preventives, the efficacy of Emgality can vary from person to person. Some might find it very effective, while others might find it doesn’t help much at all. 

A clinical trial measured the safety and efficacy of Emgality in 843 adults with episodic migraine over a six month period. They received either a 120mg, 240mg*, or placebo dose.

120mg dose (n = 210)240mg dose (n = 208)Placebo (n = 425)
Average migraine days per month at baseline9.29.29.1
Average migraine days per month during treatment4.54.66.3
Average reduction in migraine days‒4.7‒4.6‒2.8
Percentage of patients with 50% or more reduction in migraine days62.3%60.9%38.6%
Percentage of patients with 75% or more reduction in migraine days38.8%38.5%19.3%
Percentage of patients with a 100% reduction in migraine days15.6%14.6%6.2%

Source: V L Stauffer et al, 2018, Evaluation of Galcanezumab for the Prevention of Episodic Migraine: The EVOLVE-1 Randomized Clinical Trial.
*240mg doses are not prescribed on a monthly basis. This was for the purpose of the study only.

This study shows a clinically significant reduction in monthly migraine days for patients with episodic migraine. Other studies also found Emgality to be more effective than placebo, however there was some variation in efficacy.

In a trial with chronic migraine patients, fewer patients experienced a 50%, 75%, or 100% reduction in migraine days. The average reduction in migraine days per month was about the same, with a 4.8 day reduction. However, the chronic migraine patients had an average of 19.4 migraine days per month before treatment, compared to 9.2 days in the episodic group (3).

If you try Emgality (or any other CGRP monoclonal antibodies) and you don’t find it effective, don’t be discouraged. Some people will not respond to one CGRP monoclonal antibody but find another very helpful. You can discuss your options with your doctor.

Other considerations & interactions

When taking a new medication, it is important to consider your overall health, including lifestyle factors, health conditions, or other medications. Certain foods, vaccines, or other factors can affect how a medication works. These are called interactions.

Generic image of food and supplements

Sometimes, interactions just cause the drug to be less effective. But in some cases, these interactions can be harmful or unsafe.

At this stage, there are no known interactions between Emgality and other medications, foods, or lifestyle factors. However, Emgality is still a relatively new medication, and that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. You should tell your doctor about any other medications or supplements you are taking.

There is also very little research about Emgality and (1):

  • Pregnancy
  • Breastfeeding
  • Children and adolescents under 18

You should consult your doctor if any of the above apply. They will help you make a decision about whether or not you should take this medication.

Further information & resources

If you’d like to learn more about anything in this article, you can check out the following resources:


  1. Therapeutic Goods Administration, 2022, ARTG ID 302146 [EMGALITY Consumer Medicine Information (CMI) Summary]. Retrieved from: https://www.tga.gov.au/resources/artg/302146 
  2. V L Stauffer et al, 2018, Evaluation of Galcanezumab for the Prevention of Episodic Migraine: The EVOLVE-1 Randomized Clinical Trial. DOI: 10.1001/jamaneurol.2018.1212
  3. H C Detke et al, 2018, Galcanezumab in chronic migraine: The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled REGAIN study. DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000006640
  4. U Reuter et al, 2021, Galcanezumab in Patients with Multiple Previous Migraine Preventive Medication Category Failures: Results from the Open-Label Period of the CONQUER Trial. DOI: 10.1007/s12325-021-01911-7
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