Many people with diabetes have been taking Lyrica (generic name pregabalin) since it was first approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2004. Manufactured by the pharmaceutical firm Pfizer, Lyrica is used to counter the pain of diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage). Neuropathy is one of the most common diabetic complications, affecting up to 70 percent of people who have diabetes.
Lyrica works by increasing levels of a neurotransmitter (chemical messenger in nerves) called gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA. Most commonly, patients are directed to take the medicine two or three times a day. But recently, Pfizer announced that the FDA had approved a new formulation of the medicine called Lyrica CR, which is a longer-lasting version of Lyrica. Unlike the previous version, Lyrica CR needs to be taken just once a day (after the evening meal). Lyrica CR tablets are almond-shaped and come in three dosages (each a different color).
Lyrica CR was also approved for the treatment of postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), but not for the management of fibromyalgia, as the original Lyrica was. The safety of Lyrica CR was established in a placebo-controlled clinical trial that involved some 800 patients.
According to James M. Rusnak, MD, Chief Development Officer, Internal Medicine, Pfizer Global Product Development, “Lyrica CR was developed to offer patients an effective treatment option with the convenience of once-daily dosing. It provides an important option for patients and health care providers managing these often debilitating pain conditions.”
Want to learn more about managing neuropathy pain? Read “Coping With Painful Neuropathy,” “Controlling Neuropathic Pain: Tips From an Occupational Therapist,” and “Nutrition for Neuropathy.”