Patients see success with new migraine drug from Eli Lilly

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.  – “It’s like having my life back,” said migraine patient Melissa Saffelo- Boily while sitting inside the Eli Lilly headquarters in Indianapolis. She took a plane from her hometown of Minneapolis to share her story.

For the past 20 years, she suffered through chronic migraines. The 27-year-old auditor struggled to get through daily life.

“It was very difficult to sit at a computer all day when I had migraine,” said Saffelo Boily. “I have always wanted to go to graduate school but I just knew that wasn’t an option.”

Doctors tried everything, but with no luck. Until one day, while scrolling through Facebook, she found a clinical trial for a new drug from Eli Lilly called “Emgality.”

“I had kind of ran out of options medication wise and thought why not give it a shot,” Saffelo- Boily said.

She began the trial in 2017 and almost immediately went from having more than 25 headache days a month, to now having five or less. She notes the severity of her headaches also decreased.

“All of a sudden I started realizing how much energy I had from not dealing with these migraines,” Saffelo- Boily said. “I was less tired all the time and felt like I could make plans and not worry about it.”

Indianapolis based neurologist Cynthia McGarvey with St. Vincent Health received samples of the drug after it received FDA approval in the fall. She has since been able to prescribe it to her patients, and says it’s part of a class of migraine drugs called CGRP inhibitors.

“I’ve found that by prescribing the CGRP inhibitors, with or without other medications for preventative or abortive purposes, they have a significant improvement in quality of life,” McGarvey said.

The once a month injection aims to lower the severity and the frequency of migraines. In the case of Saffelo- Boily, it’s working. She’s now been officially prescribed the drug, and starts graduate school this fall.

“It’s exciting,” Safello- Boily said. “The idea of being able to go to graduate school and pursue traveling the world and having adventures, it’s a world of possibilities.”

Emgality is available to commercially insured patients free for the first year. Eli Lilly also says that the medication is now being covered by CVS health.

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