Monday, 25 April 2016

Lyrica Once Again Shown To Be Ineffective

Today's post from (see link below) will come as no surprise to may neuropathy patients who have been both disappointed by the ineffectiveness of pregabalin (Lyrica) and damaged by its side-effects. The fact is that it rarely works for neuropathic pain. However, because of aggressive marketing, it's the world's number one treatment for nerve pain! To be fair to Pfizer, they did withdraw their own recommendation for Lyrica for many disease-related neuropathies in March 2013 but that was forced by litigation and so much protest that it was inevitable. The FDA's warnings about the drug were that last straw. So why is it still so widely prescribed, despite the inherent dangers of side effects? Who knows! Apparently the marketing goes on and unscrupulous drugs company reps will prioritise getting rid of current supplies as quickly as possible. If you are prescribed Lyrica (pregabalin) for your neuropathic symptoms, please have a serious discussion with your doctor and maybe try to arrange an alternative. This article highlights the dangers if you don't.

Common drug for diabetic foot pain isn’t effective, B.C. researchers say
Erin Ellis, Vancouver Sun 01.18.2016

A report by the Therapeutics Initiative at UBC suggests Lyrica only helps about one in 10 of the people to whom it is prescribed.JB REED / BLOOMBERG NEWS

A pain medication that rarely works as promised had a 17-fold increase in prescriptions over a decade, says the latest research from the Therapeutics Initiative at the University of B.C.

Its report says only about one in 10 patients will gain relief from pregabalin (trade name Lyrica), which is used to treat peripheral neuropathy — usually foot pain caused by diabetes — and other discomfort. Therapeutics Initiative is think-tank that reviews the usefulness of prescribed drugs and offers advice to B.C.’s doctors and pharmacists.

The latest work released Tuesday concludes that pregabalin, and two other painkillers studied, gabapentin and duloxetine (Cymbalta), all have little effect on pain despite extensive marketing campaigns promoting them.

Co-author Dr. Tom Perry, a clinical assistant professor in the department of anesthesiology, pharmacology and therapeutics at UBC, says doctors often tell patients to take these medications in higher doses and for a longer time than the evidence supports. Patients should know within days whether the medications are working for them, he says.

“These drugs are intended to make someone feel better; if you’re not feeling better, why take it?”

Perry and co-author Aaron Tejani, a clinical assistant professor in Pharmaceutical Sciences, looked information on gabapentin, pregabalin and a number of other medications gathered by Cochrane Reviews which evaluate scientific research from around the world. They found expectations of the drugs’ effectiveness far outstripped the evidence and likely drives an increasing number of prescriptions.

In B.C., pregabalin prescriptions rose 17 fold from 2005 through 2014, compared with a 1.8-fold increase in people receiving gabapentin.

Gabapentin is now available as a generic drug, but was formerly trademarked medication called Neurontin manufactured by Pfizer. The pharmaceutical giant agreed to pay $430 million in U.S. fines in 2004 after marketing it for unapproved uses such as migraine headaches and pain.

Combined costs of gabapentin, pregabalin, and duloxetine were over $52 million in British Columbia during 2014, says the Therapeutics Initiative report, of which Pharmacare paid over $13 million, mostly for gabapentin.

Pregabalin, also manufactured by Pfizer for neuropathic pain, is not covered under B.C.’s publicly funded Pharmacare following a recommendation by a national drug advisory committee in 2005. As a result, patients either pay for it out-of-pocket or through private health insurance,

Worse than simply buying a medication that’s not working, Perry says pregabalin is often prescribed to older adults who may become drowsy or lose their balance because of it.

Therapeutics Initiative is funded by the B.C. Ministry of Health through a grant to UBC.

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