AP

Allergan plc  (AGN - Get Report) posted stronger-than-expected first quarter earnings Tuesday, and boosted its full-year profit guidance, as Botox sales continue to drive top-line growth for the Dublin-based pharmaceutical group.

Allergan said adjusted non-GAAP earnings for the three months ending in March came in at $3.79 per share, up 1.3% from the same period last year and well ahead of the Street consensus of $3.55 cents per share. Group revenues, the company said, rose 2% to $3.6 billion, edging just past analysts' forecasts of $3.57 billion.

Looking into 2019, Allergan said it sees non-GAAP revenues in the range of $15.10 billion to $15.40 billion, around half a percent better than its prior forecast, with non-GAAP earnings of around $16.55, 20 cents ahead of the group's prior forecast. 

"Our first quarter results reflected continued growth of our Core Business, which increased 4.4 percent year-over-year across our four key therapeutic areas. Growth of key products such as BOTOX® Cosmetic, BOTOX® Therapeutic, VRAYLAR®, JUVÉDERM® and Lo LOESTRIN® offset declines in products that lost exclusivity and products which were divested in 2018," said CEO Brent Saunders. "Many key R&D programs have made steady progress and we now anticipate five regulatory approvals over the next 18 months. I appreciate the talented Allergan colleagues around the world who are bringing our products to patients who need them and positioning Allergan for a successful 2019 and beyond."

Allergan shares were marked 4.4% lower in pre-market trading following the earnings release at $141.45 each, a move that would trim the stock's year-to-date gain to around 6%. 

Botox sales, Allergan said, rose 2% from last year to $648.2 billion, a good performance for the wrinkle treatment as the company prepares for a discounted competitor from rival Evolus Inc. EOLS.

The treatment, called Jeuveau, received FDA approval earlier this year after the agency first rejected the application citing deficiencies in its manufacturing and chemical composition. Evolus has said it plans to price the treatment at discount of between 20% and 25% to Allergan's Botox, which generated $3.5 billion in sales last year.