Pfizer's epilepsy offering, Lyrica (pregabalin), reduces the frequency of partial seizures by up to 53% and is well tolerated as an add-on therapy to other antiepileptic treatments, according to a new study published in the journal Neurology.

Of the 312 patients in the trial, those receiving Lyrica three times a day experienced 53% fewer seizures versus placebo, while those treated with Lyrica twice daily experienced up to 44% fewer seizures. Those receiving placebo experienced a 1% increase in seizures.

Pfizer notes that epilepsy an estimated 50 million people worldwide, but adds that reducing the frequency of seizures remains a significant challenge in treating patients with epilepsy. More than one-third of epilepsy patients continuing to experience seizures while taking one antiepileptic therapy, while over 30% of patients taking two or more antiepileptic drugs have uncontrolled seizures.

Lyrica won coveted US approval late last year for the management of the two most common forms of neuropathic (nerve) pain, diabetic peripheral neuropathy and postherpetic neuralgia [[04/01/05d]]. Pfizer had hoped to get Lyrica on the market before generic competition to its multi-billion dollar anti-epileptic, Neurontin (gabapentin) [[11/10/04d]], but the dossier was knocked back when it said it would need extra time to provide new toxicological data [[09/09/02c]]. The firm has since received an approvable letter from the US Food and Drug Administration for the product’s use in the adjunctive treatment of partial seizures in adults. In July last year, the European Commission approved Lyrica in two indications – for partial seizures in patients with epilepsy, and to treat neuropathic pain [[07/07/04a]].