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Drug update

Pregabalin: another option for neuropathic pain

Eric J Visser

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Abstract

The long-awaited listing of pregabalin on the PBS for treatment of ‘neuropathic pain refractory to treatment with other drugs’ took place in March. Was it worth the wait?

Article Extract

On 1 March 2013, the analgesic and anticonvulsant pregabalin was listed on the PBS for the treatment of ‘neuropathic pain refractory to treatment with other drugs’. This listing was long awaited by consumers and the pain management community as access to this drug was restricted largely because of cost. But what is the place of pregabalin in the treatment of neuropathic pain? This article will highlight the issues.

Chronic pain affects 20% of Australians and costs the economy 35 billion dollars a year, with neuropathic pain – defined as ‘pain caused by a lesion or disease of the somatosensory nervous system’ – being a major contributor. Pregabalin was first approved by the TGA for the treatment of neuropathic pain in adults in April 2005.

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