WASHINGTON, Nov. 16 -- In a majority of patients with fibromyalgia, Lyrica (pregabalin) maintains its painkilling effect for several months, a researcher reported here.
"This is the first study to report long-term pain relief for fibromyalgia," according to Leslie Crofford, M.D., of the University of Kentucky in Lexington, speaking at the American College of Rheumatology meeting here.
Lyrica, manufactured by Pfizer, is approved for the treatment of such conditions as diabetic neuropathy and post-herpetic neuralgia, but earlier double-blind studies have suggested that it relieves pain associated with fibromyalgia, as well as improving quality of sleep and reducing fatigue, Dr. Crofford said.
But many drugs have shown a short-term benefit in fibromyalgia, commented Eric Ruderman, M.D., of Northwestern in Chicago, who was not involved in the study. "Lots of things look interesting in fibromyalgia in small studies, short studies, but they don't really last," he said.
It was for that reason, Dr. Crofford said, that she and colleagues undertook a six-month, two-phase clinical trial involving 1,051 participants, most of them women. On average, they had a pain score of 78 on a scale of 100 and had had fibromyalgia for more than seven years.