Thursday, 2 June 2016

How Much Longer Will Lyrica Be A First Choice Neuropathy Drug?

Today's post from (see link below) needs to be taken seriously, if only because it comes from, which is one of the most trusted medical sites on the internet. You may wonder what an article about birth defects has to do with neuropathy but the common link is the drug pregabalin (Lyrica). Despite Pfizer withdrawing its own recommendation for Lyrica for many forms of neuropathy as long ago as 2013 and despite the mounting evidence of the harm it can do, it remains one of the most widely prescribed mainstream drugs for nerve pain across the whole world. The reasons for this are unclear but you have to suspect the mass marketing of the drug still goes on and of course doctors still make use of so-called 'off-label prescribing because the right information is not getting through. This particular article looks at the evidence of the potential for birth defects due to pregabalin but this is just the latest in a long line of contra-indications for Lyrica. If it is prescribed for your neuropathy symptoms, you should probably have a serious discussion with your doctor and maybe take along some of the evidence you can find here on the blog (type 'pregabalin' in the search box to the right of the page) because there's a distinct possibility that it may do you more harm than good.

Drug used for pain, anxiety may be linked to birth defects 
Date: May 18, 2016 Source: American Academy of Neurology (AAN)

A drug commonly used to treat pain, epilepsy, anxiety and other brain health disorders may be associated with an increased risk of major birth defects, according to a study published in the May 18, 2016, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

The drug pregabalin is approved by the FDA to treat epilepsy, fibromyalgia and neuropathic pain, such as pain from diabetic neuropathy or pain after shingles or spinal cord injury. It is also used for generalized anxiety disorder and other mental health issues. This is called off-label prescribing.

For the study, information was collected in seven countries from 164 women who took pregabalin during a pregnancy and 656 pregnant women who were not taking any anti-seizure drugs. The women or their practitioners were then contacted again after their expected date of delivery.

Pregnancies of the women who took pregabalin during the first trimester of pregnancy were three times more likely to result in major birth defects than those of the women who did not take anti-seizure drugs. Seven of the 116 pregnancies in women taking anti-seizure drugs, or 6 percent, had major birth defects, compared to 12 of 580 pregnancies, or 2 percent, in women who did not take the drug. Birth defects due to chromosomal abnormalities were not included in these results.

The major birth defects included heart defects and structural problems with the central nervous system (CNS) or other organs. The women taking pregabalin were six times more likely to have a pregnancy with a major defect in the central nervous system than women who were not taking the drug, with four CNS defects out of 125 pregnancies, or 3.2 percent, compared to three CNS defects out of 570 pregnancies, or 0.5 percent.

Of the women taking pregabalin, 115 were taking it to treat neuropathic pain, 39 were taking it for psychiatric disorders, including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and psychosis, five were taking it for epilepsy and one was taking it for restless leg syndrome.

A total of 77 percent of the women started taking pregabalin before they became pregnant. The women in the study stopped taking the drug at an average of six weeks into their pregnancies. Of the women taking pregabalin, 22, or 13 percent, were also taking another anti-seizure drug.

"We can't draw any definitive conclusions from this study, since many of the women were taking other drugs that could have played a role in the birth defects and because the study was small and the results need to be confirmed with larger studies, but these results do signal that there may be an increased risk for major birth defects after taking pregabalin during the first trimester of pregnancy," said study author Ursula Winterfeld, PhD, of the Swiss Teratogen Information Service and Lausanne University Hospital in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Winterfeld said, "Pregabalin should be prescribed for women of child-bearing age only after making sure that the benefits of the drug outweigh the risks and after counseling them about using effective birth control. In cases where women have taken pregabalin during pregnancy, extra fetal monitoring may be warranted."

Story Source:

The above post is reprinted from materials provided by American Academy of Neurology (AAN). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Journal Reference:

Ursula Winterfeld, Paul Merlob, David Baud, Valentin Rousson, Alice Panchaud, Laura E. Rothuizen, Nathalie Bernard, Thierry Vial, Laura M. Yates, Alessandra Pistelli, Maria Ellfolk, Georgios Eleftheriou, Loes C. de Vries, Annie-Pierre Jonville-Bera, Mine Kadioglu, Jerome Biollaz, and Thierry Buclin. Pregnancy outcome following maternal exposure to pregabalin may call for concern. Neurology, May 2016 DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000002767

No comments:

Post a Comment

All comments welcome but advertising your own service or product will unfortunately result in your comment not being published.