What do you do with a booming antidepressant? Broaden its scope, of course. Eli Lilly has filed for FDA approval to sell Cymbalta as a fibromyalgia remedy. It's already marketed for use against general anxiety and nerve pain, in addition to depression.
Lilly announced its supplemental drug app with news of a study that found that fibromyalgia patients taking Cymbalta felt less pain than those taking placebo. The study subjects included patients with depression and those without. Already, Cymbalta has been a hot performer for Lilly this year. First-quarter sales of the drug were up almost 90 percent over the same period last year, to $41.8 million, and second quarter sales reached $519.5 million, at least in part because of an aggressive direct-to-consumer campaign begun last summer. If approved for fibromyalgia, Cymbalta would find a broad new market: an estimated 3 to 6 million Americans have the disease, according to the American College of Rheumatology.
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