Injectable medications can both stop and prevent migraine episodes.

Migraine is a neurological condition that causes severe throbbing pain, usually on one side of your head.

Migraine episodes are pretty common. According to a 2018 study, they affect around one out of six Americans, most commonly women. Migraine is more than just a “bad headache.” If you have episodes, you may experience a multitude of symptoms that can substantially affect your life, including:

There are many treatments for migraine. One kind, injectable medications, can both stop and prevent migraine episodes. Let’s cover injections for migraine — their types, mode of administration, side effects, and other helpful info.

Several preventive migraine injectables target a molecule called calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP). CGRP is a molecule released during migraine episodes. It promotes vasodilation, or widening of your blood vessels. Vasodilation increases pain and inflammation.

CGRP medications block either CGRP itself or CGRP receptors (“gatekeeper” molecules that CGRP binds to on your nerve cells). They’re also called anti-CGRP, CGRP inhibitors, and CGRP antagonists.

The dosage of CGRP injectables depends on the brand and how often you get migraine episodes. You may need a CGRP injection once a month or once every 4 months, or sometimes less frequently. Most CGRP injections can be self-administered at home, but certain brands require the help of medical professionals.

The following injectable CGRP inhibitors are Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved for the prevention of migraine:

Certain CGRP medications are also available as pills.

Botox (medically known as botulinum toxin) is more than just a wrinkle reducer. When injected into your body, it blocks chemical signals involved in pain transmission.

Botox injections have been used for migraine prevention since 2010. This treatment is approved only for people who have migraine episodes at least 15 days a month. It’s an effective prevention option with few side effects for those with chronic migraine.

Other injectable medications work to treat acute migraine episodes, which are episodes that have begun. Two such drugs are currently on the U.S. market: sumatriptan and dihydroergotamine (DHE). Sumatriptan is also available as a pill and a nasal spray.

These medications work by narrowing your blood vessels (vasoconstriction). This helps reduce pain and inflammation. They also reduce inflammation.

Unlike CGRP and Botox injections, which people receive regularly to prevent migraine, sumatriptan and DHE aren’t intended for long-term use.

Sumatriptan and DHE can also be used to treat cluster headaches.

There are many migraine triggers, but one specific cause can be the stimulation of certain areas of muscle called trigger points. According to a 2014 study, around 94% of people with migraine experience trigger point pain.

Trigger point injections target muscles that can cause migraine episodes. A doctor or healthcare professional may target muscles of your head, neck, and shoulders for these types of injections. Injections are performed with tiny needles that contain medications that treat pain and inflammation, most commonly local anesthetics.

A nerve block, also called neural blockade, is a method of producing loss of feeling used to prevent or control pain. Nerve blocks involve injecting a medication around a specific nerve or a bundle of nerves. This temporarily prevents the nerves’ impulses from reaching the central nervous system and making you feel pain. Nerve blocks have many uses, including preventing migraine pain.

The mode of administration depends on the type of medication, brand, and whether it’s designed to prevent or treat acute episodes.

Preventive CGRP blockers

You can inject Aimovig, Ajovy, and Emgality yourself at home. Frequency depends on the specific brand and the severity of your pain. A doctor will show you how to perform self-injections.

Vyepti is a solution that a medical professional will inject into your vein over the course of about 30 minutes. This is known as an intravenous (IV) infusion. You’ll have your infusions every 3 months.


Botox injections are administered by a medical professional. You might get injections in your forehead, temples, and the back of your head and neck. A doctor may target trigger points when performing the injections. This treatment is usually administered every 3 months.

Medications for acute migraine episodes

You can self-administer sumatriptan and DHE injections at home once a migraine episode begins. Sumatriptan is available as an auto-injector tool. DHE comes in a prefilled syringe.

Trigger point injections

This type of treatment is performed by a healthcare professional. A doctor will first palpate and identify the painful areas within a muscle. The number of injections depends on your number of trigger points. The procedure may be repeated as needed.

Side effects of migraine injectables are usually minor. Most often, it’s pain around the site of injection. Other side effects vary based on the type of drug.

CGRP inhibitors may cause:

Botox injections can cause muscle weakness at the site of injection and flu symptoms. Some people experience neck pain and headache.

Acute migraine treatments may cause hot, cold, or prickly sensations in your arms and legs.

Trigger point injections rarely cause any side effects.

Let’s go over questions that people with migraine frequently ask doctors.

How can I find out if migraine injections can help me?

Migraine injections aren’t appropriate for everyone. Whether you’re considering injections for the prevention or treatment of your migraine, be sure to consult with a doctor.

How often are migraine injections administered?

The frequency of preventive injections for migraine depends on the medication type and brand. Injections for acute pain are administered as needed.

What are the different types of migraine injections?

Migraine injections include preventive treatments, including CGRP inhibitors and Botox. They also include treatments for acute pain, including sumatriptan, DHE, and trigger point injections.

How long are migraine injections effective?

Preventive migraine medications usually provide long-term relief if administered regularly. Injections for acute pain only provide relief for an ongoing episode. To achieve the biggest benefit, many people use these medications in combination to both treat and prevent migraine episodes.

Injectable migraine medications are used to both treat and prevent migraine episodes. While preventive options must be administered regularly (usually monthly or every few months), you can perform injections for acute pain whenever you have a migraine episode.

Many of these medications can be administered at home, but some require the help of a medical professional. Migraine injections are effective and have few side effects.

A doctor will help you choose the best prevention and treatment options for you.