Pfizer's Lyrica shows benefit in treating hot flashes in women: study

Late-stage study data demonstrated that women who took Pfizer's Lyrica (pregabalin) had fewer and less-severe hot flashes than women who received placebo. Lead author Charles Loprinzi stated that "for those who opt not to take hormonal therapies or antidepressants, pregabalin appears to be another treatment option."

The study evaluated data from 163 patients who had reported having at least 28 hot flashes per week, and who were treated with either placebo or one of two twice-daily doses of Lyrica. Results after six weeks of treatment, during which the women recorded the frequency and severity of their hot flashes, showed that those who took the higher dose of Lyrica had a 61-percent decrease in hot flashes, compared with a drop of 36 percent for those who received placebo.

Researchers said both doses of Lyrica reduced hot flashes to "about the same degree" but they noted that toxicities, such as cognitive dysfunction, were increased at the higher dose. In addition, data demonstrated that hot flash severity decreased 71 percent in women who received the highest dose of Lyrica, compared to a 50-percent decline in patients who took placebo. The findings are scheduled to be presented at ASCO later this month.

Commenting on the study, Pfizer spokeswoman Sally Beatty indicated that "Lyrica is not FDA-approved for the treatment of hot flashes, but [the drugmaker] and independent researchers continue to investigate potential new uses." The drug is approved to treat some forms of nerve pain and as adjunctive therapy for adults with partial onset seizures.

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