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New Lyrica Oral Formulation For Patients With Dysphagia Available In UK

Lyrica® (pregabalin) is now available in a new strawberry-flavored oral solution form in the UK, in order to benefit patients who have difficulty in taking medication in capsule form or for those with dysphagia (swallowing difficulty).

Pregabalin is licensed to treat peripheral and central neuropathic pain, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) in adults as well as an adjunctive therapy for partial seizures with or without secondary generalization in adults. 

Berkeley Phillips, Medical Director of Pfizer Ltd declared:

"By bringing pregabalin oral solution to the UK market, we can provide patients who are candidates for treatment but experience difficulty swallowing, with an alternative option. The difficulties associated with dysphagia for those who are required to take medicines orally are widely accepted. It is our hope that this new oral solution formulation will provide an appropriate alternative, which will be more convenient for these patients."

Dysphagia is linked to certain diseases and disorders, such as diabetes, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis (MS) and Parkinson's disease (PD) and can also occur as a side effect to some types of medication. The risk of dysphagia increases with age and the condition can make it difficult for patients to swallow medications that are in solid form.

5% of over 79 year olds and 16% of those aged over 87 years report to suffer from symptoms of dysphagia. These figure rise to up to 60% amongst the elderly who live in nursing homes or sheltered accommodation. 24% of patients who are mildly impaired due to MS suffer from permanent dysphagia, however the prevalence increases progressively together with rising disability, with 65% of severely disabled MS sufferers experiencing permanent dysphagia. According to estimates, almost 40% of patients who suffered a stroke also suffer from swallowing problems.

Crushing pills or opening capsules to ease ingestion for those who have difficulty in taking medication in tablet or capsule form can change a drug's bioavailability, the rate in which a drug is being absorbed, and it may also affect a drug's therapeutic benefits and/or risk of adverse events. According to research, patients who experience difficulty in swallowing pills have poorer health outcomes and higher health care costs.

Martin Johnson, GP and RCGP Pain Champion explained:

"A wide range of patients with dysphagia will benefit from the introduction of the new oral formulation. The introduction of the oral solution will help us in our treatment of peripheral and central neuropathic pain in the elderly, those with epilepsy, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, stroke and Parkinson's disease, and of course palliative patients as well."

According to recommendations from the National Electronic Library for Medicine, doctors should wherever available administer licensed alternatives, like oral solutions to those patients who are unable to take medicines in solid oral dosage forms. The announcement was made after the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) positive opinion regarding an oral solution of prebabalin in 2010, a decision ratified by the EU in 2011.