Which old meds hold their own with fast-growing Sovaldi, Tecfidera, and Xarelto? Try Humira and Revlimid

The patent cliff may still be weighing on some companies, which will see their revenues dip for 2014. But that doesn't mean there aren't plenty of products enjoying big-time growth. According to FirstWord Pharma, over the past four quarters, the 50 biggest-growing drugs delivered an absolute sales increase of $31 billion to their makers. While the top 5 slots on FWP's list are filled with a who's who of recent, high-power launches, AbbVie ($ABBV) stalwart Humira is right up there with the new rollouts--and the list holds a few surprises lower down, too.

Gilead's ($GILD) Sovaldi, which made the quickest trip to the blockbuster threshold of all time, unsurprisingly holds the top position, kicking in $8 billion--or 27% of the combined growth generated by the drugs on the list, FirstWord notes. Joining it at the top are Biogen Idec's ($BIIB) hot new MS pill Tecfidera, Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) and Bayer's new-age clot-fighter Xarelto, and forecast-trouncing eye drug Eylea from Regeneron ($REGN) and Bayer.

But holding down third place is a drug nearing the end of its patent life in Humira. Despite its age, the veteran put up $1.899 billion in growth over the measured span compared with its haul from the four previous quarters.

Humira's not the only aging giant still putting up impressive growth numbers. J&J's Remicade and Celgene's ($CELG) Revlimid each delivered more than $600 million over their previous totals, and Sanofi's ($SNY) Lantus kicked it up a notch with a $542 million increase. AstraZeneca ($AZN) respiratory star Symbicort--which is starting to see some generic competition--churned out a $401 million sales increase.

Lower down, there's Eliquis in 18th place. The Pfizer ($PFE) and Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY) joint effort is picking up the pace after a disappointing launch that currently has it sitting behind Xarelto and Boehringer Ingelheim's Pradaxa in a three-horse race for the next-gen anticoagulant crown (although Pradaxa, first to hit the market, did not make the list itself).

And luckily for GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK), a pair of its new launches--Tivicay for HIV and Tafinlar for melanoma--appear in the top 50, partially offsetting lagging launches for COPD due Breo and Anoro as top seller Advair's revenue wanes.

- see the list from FirstWord

Special Reports: Top 15 Drug Launch Superstars | The 10 best-selling drugs of 2013