Eli Lilly gets FDA approval for new drug to prevent migraines

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Eli Lilly and Company has been testing a new drug to help prevent migraines for years. On Thursday, that drug, named "Emgality," was finally approved by the FDA.

"It is an innovative medicine designed specifically to prevent migraines,” said Eric Pearlman, Medical Fellow at Eli Lilly.

This new drug will work to prevent migraines, by targeting a specific chemical in the brain.

“CGRP is a chemical in our brain and throughout our body and it’s involved in transmission of pain and triggering migraine attacks,” Pearlman said

The drug is considered a preventative drug, and is administered once a month by an injection. The injection is a simple process that the patient can do at home.

As far as how effective this new drug is, Lilly says in their clinical trials, two out of three patients had a 50 percent reduction in monthly migraines, while one in seven patients saw a 100 percent reduction.

“I do think this is a game changer," said Adult Neurologist with St. Vincent's Hospital Cindi McGarvey. "I still have patients doing everything we’ve known up to this point to decrease the frequency and severity, and also great medicines to get rid of the headache once you have them, but (they) still end up in the emergency room because they’re having very severe headaches.”

While McGarvey hasn’t had the chance to prescribe Emgality to her patients just yet, she has been using a similar medicine.

"We have been able to see another medication in the same category of CGRP inhibitors have an amazing effect on patients," McGarvey said. "They start taking it and within the first month they seem to have a lot of benefit.”

The cost of the drug would be $575 a month, but patients could try out the drug at no cost for the first year. "We know that this translates into migraine patients’ abilities to be able to do those daily activities that are really important to them in a meaningful way,” Pearlman said.

Now that it has been approved by the FDA, Lilly expects the drug to become available within the next few weeks. You can talk with your doctor if you think Emgality is right for you.

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