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Lilly Announces Upcoming Presentation of New Data Indicating Rise in Opioid Use for Migraine Treatment

INDIANAPOLIS, July 10, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: LLY) today announced the upcoming presentation of data indicating rising rates of opioid use for the treatment of migraine based on results from the OVERCOME (Observational Survey of the Epidemiology, Treatment and Care of Migraine) study.1 These findings will be presented on Saturday, July 13, 2019, at the 61st Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Headache Society taking place in Philadelphia.

Despite opioids typically being reserved for limited or highly specific uses and not a treatment of choice for migraine, results from OVERCOME demonstrated that a high number of people are using opioids to treat their migraine.1,3 These findings suggest that the real-world treatment of migraine is falling short of current scientific understanding of how to optimally treat this serious and disabling neurologic disease.

"The data from OVERCOME showed that, overall, opioids are being used in place of medicines that are approved and indicated to treat migraine, particularly among those who experience migraine headaches more frequently," said Sait Ashina, M.D., Department of Neurology and Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA. "These data show that, despite the known potential risks of using opioids for migraine, far too many continue to do so. Against the backdrop of the U.S. opioid epidemic, it's concerning that many people may be using these drugs in place of therapies indicated for migraine."

The seminal 2009 American Migraine Prevalence and Prevention Study demonstrated that 16 percent of people with migraine were currently using opioids at the time of the study.2 Data from OVERCOME collected in 2018 showed 19 percent of people with migraine were currently using opioids specifically to treat migraine.1 This could represent a potential increase of tens of thousands of adults using opioids for migraine compared to the previous decade.1,2 Furthermore, among OVERCOME participants who reported four or more migraine headaches per month, nearly 1 in 4 were currently using opioids (23.9%) and more than 50 percent of people in this group reported using opioids at some point to treat their migraine.1

"While diagnosis and treatment in migraine has significantly improved during the past decade or so, it's clear that for many, sub-optimal care is still a reality," said Eric Pearlman, M.D., Ph.D, senior medical director, U.S. neuroscience, Eli Lilly and Company. "Considering the social, economic and health consequences of both migraine and opioid use, now is the time to close the treatment gap that has existed for too long. It's vital those living with this chronic, neurological disease are aware of and being counseled on appropriate treatment options for their migraine."

Lilly supports the efforts of organizations such as the American Headache Society, the American Migraine Foundation, the Migraine Research Foundation and the National Headache Foundation, among others, to promote scientific education that may lead to better outcomes for people affected by migraine. Raising awareness throughout the entire care continuum – from healthcare providers to patients and their caregivers – is vital to the holistic care and management of migraine.

About the OVERCOME Study
The Observational Survey of the Epidemiology, Treatment and Care of Migraine (OVERCOME) study aims to further understand the burden of migraine and stigma experienced by people living with the disease, identify barriers to appropriate treatment of migraine and assess how the introduction of novel treatment options may influence delivery of migraine care and outcomes.

The OVERCOME study is a prospective, web-based patient survey designed to follow two U.S. population samples of 20,000 people with migraine for two years following their enrollment. The first population sample began enrollment in 2018, with the second population sample to begin enrollment in 2020. In parallel, the study also includes two U.S. population samples of 10,000 people without migraine during the same enrollment periods, providing a unique perspective about how migraine is perceived by those who do not have the disease.

About the OVERCOME Scientific Advisory Board
The OVERCOME study is being conducted by Kantar on behalf of Eli Lilly and Company with expert guidance provided by some of the leading voices in migraine research today, including:

  • Dawn C. Buse, Ph.D., Department of Neurology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Clinical Health Psychology Doctoral Program of the Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology, Yeshiva University
  • Michael L. Reed, Ph.D., President, Vedanta Research
  • Richard B. Lipton (Study Chair), M.D., Department of Neurology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine
  • Robert E. Shapiro, M.D., Department of Neurological Sciences, Larner College of Medicine, University of Vermont
  • Sait Ashina, M.D., Department of Neurology and Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine, and Harvard Medical School, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
  • Susan Hutchinson, M.D., Orange County Migraine and Headache Center

About Eli Lilly and Company
Lilly is a global healthcare leader that unites caring with discovery to make life better for people around the world. We were founded more than a century ago by a man committed to creating high-quality medicines that meet real needs, and today we remain true to that mission in all our work. Across the globe, Lilly employees work to discover and bring life-changing medicines to those who need them, improve upon the understanding and management of disease, and give back to communities through philanthropy and volunteerism. To learn more about Lilly, please visit us at and  P-LLY

  1. Ashina S. et al, Opioid Use among People with Migraine: Results of the OVERCOME Study. Abstract OR10. 61st Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Headache Society (AHS), 2019.
  2. Buse D. et al, Opioid Use and Dependence Among Persons with Migraine: Results of the AMPP Study. Headache. 2012;52(1):18-36.
  3. Marmura, M. et al, The Acute Treatment of Migraine in Adults: The American Headache Society Evidence Assessment of Migraine Pharmacotherapies. Headache. Jan 2015; Volume 51: 3-20.

Refer to:

Jen Dial;; 317-220-1172 (Lilly Bio-Medicines)

Kevin Hern;; 317-277-1838 (Investor Relations) 



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