Home E-Weekly December 23, 2014

Lyrica Ineffective Against Lower Back Pain

Published: December 22, 2014

Pregabalin, a popular drug often mentioned in discussions of non-opioid and multi-modal pain management strategies, may not be effective in controlling lower back pain associated with lumbar spinal stenosis, according to a study appearing in the journal Neurology.

The drug, marketed under the trade name Lyrica, has been approved to treat chronic pain associated with spinal cord injury, fibromyalgia, shingles and diabetic peripheral neuropathy, but it is often also prescribed as an off-label solution for lower back pain, say researchers from the University of Rochester Medical Center. The researchers note that more than two-thirds of lumbar spinal stenosis pain treatment regimens currently utilize drugs that were not approved by the FDA for the condition.

For the study, which was funded by Pfizer, the maker of Lyrica, 26 patients with lumbar spinal stenosis were asked to walk on a treadmill and report their levels of pain. The researchers found "no significant difference" between patients who'd received the drug and those who'd received a placebo.

"Given the cost and potential side effects associated with pregabalin, it is critical that we understand the efficacy of this drug," says lead author John Markman, MD. "This study convincingly demonstrates a lack of relief with pregabalin for the walking pain associated with lumbar spinal stenosis."

Kendal Gapinski

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