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Court ruling requires NHS England to issue guidance for the prescribing and dispensing of pregabalin for neuropathic pain

10th March 2015

Generic pregabalin capsules are now available in all usual strengths (25mg, 50mg, 75mg, 100mg, 150mg, 225mg, 300mg and 600mg) authorized for epilepsy or generalised anxiety disorder only. 

The patent for the use of pregabalin in central and peripheral neuropathic pain resides with the Lyrica brand of pregabalin capsules (Pfizer) and does not expire until 2017, making Lyrica the only product authorized for such use. 

Following a legal dispute, a court ruling has required NHS England to issue guidance for the prescribing and dispensing of pregabalin which states that when used for neuropathic pain, the brand name Lyrica should be written on the prescription (NHS England prescribing guidance). 

Note: gabapentin is an alternative first-line option for neuropathic pain (see our Gabapentin and pregabalin monograph). Generic gabapentin capsules, authorized for peripheral neuropathic pain, are as effective as, and significantly cheaper than, the Lyrica brand of pregabalin.