More Relief Is On the Way

Relief may be on the way for the estimated five million Americans suffering from diabetes-related neuropathy pain—a stabbing, shooting, burning pain that is associated with nerve damage most often in the feet and legs but which can also occur in the hands and arms.

On December 31, 2004, Pfizer, Inc., announced it received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to market Lyrica (pregabalin), a new oral medication for the management of neuropathic pain associated with diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN) and also for postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), a complication of shingles. Lyrica is still under review by the FDA for treatment of partial epileptic seizures in adults.

Lyrica likely will be classified by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as a controlled substance, a designation that makes drugs harder to advertise, prescribe and dispense.

In the November 2004 issue of Diabetes Health, we reported on the first FDA-approved treatment for the pain of diabetes-related neuropathic pain, Cymbalta (duloxetine), a drug from Eli Lilly & Co. that is also approved for the treatment of major depression.

“Lyrica provided rapid and clinically meaningful pain reduction in a significant portion of patients, with pain relief beginning as early as the first week of treatment in some patients,” says Pfizer. “Pain relief was sustained in studies of up to 12 weeks’ duration.”

Source: Pfizer, Inc.

Side Effects of Lyrica

Adverse effects in people taking Lyrica included dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, peripheral edema (an abnormal buildup of fluids in the ankles and legs), blurred vision, weight gain and difficulty with concentration or attention.

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