The widely-prescribed pain medication Lyrica (generic: pregabalin) may be no better at treating sciatica pain than a placebo drug, a new study has found.
Free Confidential Lawsuit Evaluation: If your child or other loved one was born with a birth defect after the mother or father took Lyrica, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a suit against the manufacturer and our lawyers can help.
What’s the Problem?
March 24, 2017 – For the study, which was published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), researchers looked at 209 sciatica patients in Australia who took either Lyrica or a placebo. They found no significant differences in leg pain intensity between the placebo group and patients treated with Lyrica, and no differences for other outcomes such as back pain, quality of life, and degree of disability.
Lyrica is an analgesic drug used used to relieve pain caused by diabetic peripheral neuropathy (pain from damaged nerves due to diabetes) and postherpetic neuralgia (pain following healing of a rash due to shingles). Doctors also commonly prescribe Lyrica off-label for sciatica; however, the new study calls that practice into question.
“We do not recommend the use of pregabalin in people with sciatica,” said lead researcher Christie Lin of the George Institute for Global Health and the University of Sydney in Australia.
Sciatica is pain in the lower extremity resulting from irritation of the sciatic nerve. The pain is typically felt from the low back (lumbar area) to behind the thigh and can radiate down below the knee. The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body and begins from nerve roots in the lumbar spinal cord in the low back and extends through the buttock area.
The study also found significantly more side effects in patients treated with Lyrica, with 227 adverse events reported compared to 124 with placebo. Dizziness was the biggest complaint among Lyrica users.
“The lack of benefit and increased risk of harm provides a strong case to not use this medicine in patients for sciatica,” Lin said.
Lyrica Birth Defects
In addition to its questionable effectiveness at treating sciatica pain, Lyrica has been linked to birth defects in babies born to mother who take the drug during pregnancy. In May 2016, a study published in Neurology found that women who take Lyrica during the first trimester of pregnancy may be 3 times more likely to give birth to a child with major congenital defects compared to women who did not take the drug. Lyrica was also linked to a decrease in live births due to abortions, some of which were considered medically necessary.
Do I Have a Lyrica Lawsuit?
The Pharmaceutical Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in Lyrica lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new birth defect cases in all 50 states.
Free Case Evaluation: Again, if your child was born with a birth defect you feel may have been caused by Lyrica, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to a settlement by filing a suit and we can help.