Eli Lilly Launches a New Migraine Drug

Eli Lilly (NYSE: LLY) launched its new pill for the acute treatment of migraines Friday after the Drug Enforcement Administration completed its review of the drug and classified it as having a low potential for abuse or dependence. Reyvow is the first drug of a new class, and treats not only pain, but sensitivity to light, sensitivity to sound, and nausea. It’s the first new type of acute migraine drug to come to market in more than two decades.

Reyvow was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in October, but a DEA review was required because it acts on the central nervous system. Now that it has received a favorable decision on the scheduling of the drug, Lilly said it will be available for prescription immediately and will be in pharmacies in the next few days.

Image source: Getty Images.

The new migraine drug joins Emgality in Lilly’s portfolio, the company’s relatively new monthly injection for the prevention of migraines. Sales of Emgality have been ramping up quickly — it generated $66 million in revenue in the fourth quarter. Lilly thinks it’ll be able to leverage the infrastructure and experience from the Emgality launch to strengthen its position with Reyvow.

However, Reyvow will soon have additional competition. Allergan (NYSE: AGN), which is seeking to merge with AbbVie (NYSE: ABBV), received approval in December for Ugality, an oral acute treatment of migraines that’s in the same drug class as Emgality. That drug is expected to become available this quarter.

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