Lyrica matches UCB drug in Pfizer's latest epilepsy trial

Pfizer's attempts to prove Lyrica effective as an epilepsy treatment have delivered mixed results. Just three months ago, the controlled-release formula failed a Phase III trial in adults with epilepsy. But now, the company ($PFE) has unveiled new data showing that Lyrica capsules matched the UCB seizure drug Keppra at reducing a common type of seizures in epilepsy patients.

The study looked at Lyrica CV and Keppra in patients whose partial-onset seizures weren't adequately controlled by their previous treatments. The patients had failed on at least two other drugs. It tested three Lyrica doses against three Keppra doses, and found that a comparable proportion of patients in both arms saw their 28-day seizure rates reduced by at least 50%.

Lyrica is already approved for a list of indications, including fibromyalgia, neuropathic pain, and shingles pain. It's also approved as an add-on therapy to treat seizures. In late 2011, Pfizer stopped a trial of Lyrica as a standalone treatment in epilepsy patients, after an interim analysis showed it was effective. The 2012 study failure involved the once-a-day formulation of Lyrica rather than the immediate-release version. It was one of three ongoing studies testing the extended-release formula.

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