Most physicians very willing to use AbbVie's Qulipta in chronic migraine: survey

The FDA approval of AbbVie’s oral CGRP inhibitor Qulipta in chronic migraine could unleash a fresh phase of growth for the drug.

That is the conclusion of survey data gathered by Spherix Global Insights, which found most physicians are very willing to prescribe the drug to patients with chronic migraine.

Prior to the FDA approval, Spherix spoke to 74 neurologists and 101 primary care physicians about the migraine market, including their interest in prescribing Qulipta for the treatment of patients who have headaches at least 15 days per month. The survey suggests that AbbVie’s work to drum up interest in Qulipta since winning approval in episodic migraine in 2021 has primed the product for growth.

Almost two-thirds of the surveyed neurologists said they would be very willing to prescribe Qulipta to chronic migraine patients, up from half earlier in the launch. Similarly, more than 50% of primary care physicians are highly willing to prescribe Qulipta for chronic migraine.

One question hanging over the expansion is the extent to which off-label use of Qulipta and rival drugs such as Pfizer’s Nurtec ODT will dampen the impact of the official green light to treat chronic migraine patients. Spherix found Nurtec ODT and Qulipta collectively account for around 30% of the treatments used to prevent chronic migraine with Pfizer having a bigger share of the market than AbbVie.

Even so, the survey suggests the label expansion could benefit AbbVie, with multiple neurologists telling Spherix that approval in chronic migraine could clear barriers to reimbursement and lead to them using the drug more.  

Qulipta generated sales of $158 million for AbbVie last year. The pace of the launch picked up in the fourth quarter when Qulipta brought in $52 million, but the drug remains a long way from fulfilling the predictions of blockbuster sales. AbbVie is lagging behind Pfizer too, with its rival reporting $211 million in sales of Nurtec ODT in the fourth quarter.