NORTH CHICAGO, Ill. (AP) — Strong sales growth from the anti-inflammatory drug Humira helped drugmaker AbbVie counter rising expenses and top analyst expectations for the first quarter.

The Abbott Laboratories spinoff reported Friday that revenue from Humira climbed more than 17 percent to $2.64 billion in the quarter that ended March 31.

Overall, the drugmaker's earnings rose about 1 percent to $980 million, or 61 cents per share, in the quarter. That compares with $968 million, or 60 cents per share, in last year's quarter, AbbVie's first as a stand-alone company.

Adjusted earnings were 71 cents per share, and revenue rose 5.4 percent to $4.56 billion.

Analysts expected, on average, earnings of 68 cents per share on $4.33 billion in revenue, according to FactSet.

Operating expenses climbed more than 6 percent in the quarter to $3.21 billion as the drug maker spent more to fund mid- and late-stage clinical studies, which are generally the most expensive phases of research needed before regulators can decide whether to approve a drug.

AbbVie Inc. confirmed its forecast for 2014 adjusted earnings to range between $3 and $3.10 per share. Analysts expect earnings of $3.12 per share.

Shares in the North Chicago, Ill., company climbed 93 cents, nearly 2 percent, to $50.25 before markets opened Friday.