Eli Lilly Looking to Boost Sales of Migraine Med with New Data on Emergency Room Visits

The vast majority of eligible migraine sufferers do not take preventive medicine. 


Migraine sufferers have gained access to new medications to help prevent and treat their migraine pain, which can be truly debilitating, particularly for people who suffer frequent episodes, in the last year. Of the new medications available, drugs from Amgen and Novartis (Aimovig, erenuman-aooe) and Teva Pharmaceuticals (Ajovy, fremanezumab-vfrm) seem to be attracting the greatest interest.

Eli Lilly is introducing some new data regarding emergency room visits by migraine sufferers. The company evaluated the ER use of migraine sufferers participating in its observational study of 20,000 clinical trial participants. 

According to the company, approximately 15% of patients used emergency care within the last 12 months –– patients that could be prescribed a preventive treatment but weren’t. Emergency care is not only more expensive, it is often not the appropriate environment for treatment, because emergency care providers have “limited ability to provide the optimal, personalized ongoing management this neurological disease requires,” according to Dawn Buse, clinical professor of neurology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Prescribing Emgality as a preventive migraine treatment can help keep patients out of ERs, saving both unnecessary suffering and avoiding the higher cost of emergency care, Lilly asserts.  The company is also highlighting the fact that Emgality is easier to administer because it comes with the company’s widely accepted autoinjector technology used with its diabetes drug Trulicity. And it can also build on the fact that Emgality is the first drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of cluster headaches, which it just received in June 2019. Amgen and Novartis have a clinical trial underway for Aimovig for this indication, while Teva halted its phase III trial with Ajovy because the drug was not expected to meet its primary endpoint.

David Alvaro, Ph.D.

David is Scientific Editor in Chief of the Pharma’s Almanac content enterprise, responsible for directing and generating industry, scientific and research-based content, including client-owned strategic content, in addition to serving as Scientific Research Director for That's Nice. Before joining That’s Nice, David served as a scientific editor for the multidisciplinary scientific journal Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. He received a B.A. in Biology from New York University in 1999 and a Ph.D. in Genetics and Development from Columbia University in 2008.