FDA approves first generic copies of nerve pain drug Lyrica

Patients skipping expensive prescriptions

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Monday approved the first generic copies of a popular, pricey pill for nerve pain.

The government agency said it approved nine generic versions of pharmaceutical giant Pfizer’s Lyrica. The medication, otherwise known as pregabalin, is used for seizures and fibromyalgia, a condition that causes chronic, widespread pain.

The FDA approved the manufacture of generic versions of Lyrica to Alembic Pharmaceuticals, Alkem Laboratories, Amneal Pharmaceuticals, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, InvaGen Pharmaceuticals, MSN Laboratories, Rising Pharmaceuticals, Sciegen Pharmaceuticals, and Teva Pharmaceuticals.

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Approved in 2004, Lyrica is Pfizer’s second best-selling drug, with sales last year totaling $4.6 billion. The heavily advertised drug costs about $460 to $720 per month without insurance, with prices varying widely depending on the pharmacy.

Prices for generic versions range from about $140 to $370 per month, according to the drug price comparison site GoodRx.

Common side effects include dizziness, blurred vision, sleepiness and difficulty concentrating. Serious side effects include swelling, allergic reactions and life-threatening breathing problems. Pregalabin also increases the risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior. 

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