Epilepsy Ireland News

21-05-2015 | Important Information for people with epilepsy taking the drug Lyrica (Pregabalin)

21 May 2015
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The medication Lyrica (Pregabalin) has recently come off patent for use in epilepsy and generalised anxiety disorder. This means that generic versions of pregabalin can now be marketed in Ireland and at least one generic version (Pregabalin KRKA) is currently available.

The drug is not classified as "interchangeable" by the Health Products Regulatory Authority, which means that the original branded version cannot be substituted with a generic version. However, Epilepsy Ireland encourages everyone currently taking Lyrica for their epilepsy to be vigilant in ensuring that you continue to receive the same version as you have previously.

Follow our three step guide to ensure that substitution does not occur:

Step 1: Insist that your prescriber writes your AED prescription using the regular brand name, not the generic name.

Step 2: Insist that your prescriber hand-writes "do not substitute" beside the name of each of your AEDs every time he/ she writes your prescription

Step 3: At your pharmacy, check your medications immediately to ensure that they are exactly the same as the ones you received last time. If they are not, insist that they are changed back. Pictured below is the current packaging used for Lyrica (50/100/150mg) to help with this.

Unlike in most other treatment areas, there are serious evidence-based concerns regarding the safety of substituting a branded AED with a generic version of that drug and even greater concerns around switching from one generic to another from time to time. Epilepsy Ireland maintains our long-standing position that epilepsy drugs should not be substituted under any circumstances. For more information, see: Generic Substitution: Common Questions and Answers.

Please Note:

  • Our advice above applies to people who are taking Lyrica for the treatment of epilepsy. As well as epilepsy, Lyrica has a number of other indications including generalised anxiety disorder and neuropathic pain.
  • As always, the concern is regarding the switching from one version to another, rather than any concern over the generic drug itself. If you have only recently been prescribed pregabalin and have only ever received a generic version of it, then you should continue to take only that specific version in future and ensure that you are not switched to another generic version or to the branded version.

Please contact us or your medical team if you have any concerns.

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