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Lilly touts Emgality’s ability to reduce migraine patients’ overall pain in first look at ‘holistic approach’

June 17, 2020 Eric Sagonowsky

Eli Lilly is facing off against Amgen, Teva and Lundbeck in the competitive field of CGRP migraine prevention drugs, and the drugmaker is now touting data showing that its Emgality can reduce total pain burden for patients, a class first. 

In three randomized studies, episodic migraine patients on Emgality experienced 68.6 fewer hours of severity-weighted pain per month on average, compared with 36.2 for placebo, Lilly said Tuesday. 

The reduction was bigger for patients with chronic migraine. Those patients experienced 102.6 fewer severity-weighted hours of pain per month on average, compared with 44.4 for placebo. 


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For the analysis, investigators asked patients to track their pain burden with electronic diaries. The team used a severity-weighted scale, tracking total pain burden by multiplying the number hours a patient suffered migraine pain by the intensity on a scale out of 3. All comparisons were against baseline, or before treatment or placebo. 

In all, Lilly believes that “viewing migraine through the lens of total pain burden provides a more holistic approach for people with migraine and doctors to discuss the personal pain experience,” a spokeswoman said. 

Looking forward, the company is planning to assess reductions in total pain burden over 2 years in an observational study called Triumph. That study is reviewing Emgality’s real-world effectiveness against other migraine prevention options for patients who are starting new medications or switching from other medicines. 

RELATED: With Vyepti launch, Lundbeck aims to overcome challenges in crowded migraine field: exec 

The data on total pain reduction were originally presented at the virtual American Academy of Neurology meeting in April, and again at the American Headache Society Congress this week. 

“We hope that by presenting this data, Lilly furthers the discussion on better ways to communicate the impact that migraine has on patients,” the company’s spokeswoman added. “By moving beyond the somewhat limited current approach for describing migraine pain (frequency of attacks), the total pain burden approach offers a more complete way to discuss an individual’s migraine experience.” 

The data come as Emgality and several other drugs in the CGRP prevention class—from Amgen, Teva and Lundbeck—vie for market share in a budding field. Amgen’s Aimovig got out to a head start with its first-in-class approval, but Lilly has been charging ahead with Emgality. Lundbeck won the most recent approval in the class with Vyepti, which is administered with an IV. 

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