FDA just approved GlaxoSmithKline’s new drug Treximet for acute treatment of migraines in adults. So does that mean Treximet is a fabulous new breakthrough treatment for migraines?
It is a combination of Imitrex (soon to be available as a generic) and naproxen sodium (commonly known as Aleve, available Over the Counter).
How much would it cost a patient to take these 2 drugs separately?
* Naproxen sodium can be had for about 8 cents a pill. A single Aleve pill has 220 mg of naproxen sodium. There’s 500 mg of naproxen sodium in Treximet, so a patient would have to take about 2 1/4 Aleve pills to get to 500 mg. Since you can’t really take 1/4 of a pill, let’s assume most patients would take 2. 2 pills would give you 440 mg, so that’s pretty close to the 500 mg.
Cost: 16 cents.
* We don’t yet know how much generic Imitrex will cost. But the price of a generic typically drops to about 30 percent of the brand-name’s price within 6 months of the drug’s patent expiring and more generic companies introducing their own versions. So it’s safe to assume that generic Imitrex will cost about $7.50 by middle of 2009. (Even before then, the price of generic Imitrex will begin dropping from the current price of $25 a pill.)
So, by spending $7.50 on generic Imitrex and 16 cents on over-the-counter Aleve, you can get the same thing you’d get in a Treximet — which is very likely to cost $25 or more.
* PAL April 24, 2008