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Study finds Pfizer's Lyrica effective for spinal cord pain

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A late-stage clinical study released Tuesday showed that Pfizer Inc.'s pain medication Lyrica was effective in reducing discomfort for people with spinal cord injuries.

The results, which were released without specific safety and efficacy data, boosted Pfizer's hopes that Lyrica will be approved for use in people with spinal pain.

Lyrica, discovered at Northwestern University and acquired when Pfizer bought Warner-Lambert a decade ago, added more than $3 billion in sales to the company's bottom line last year. It is on track to improve those results in 2011.

"We are pleased with the top-line results of this study and look forward to more fully understanding the benefit that Lyrica may bring to these patients," said Steven J. Romano, a Pfizer senior vice president, in a statement responding to the findings.

The study, which compared Lyrica to a placebo, looked at patients with central neuropathic pain, a condition often caused by spinal cord injury.

Pfizer said the study involved 220 patients in 10 countries.

Preliminary results showed the most common side effects included sleep troubles, dizziness, fatigue, dry mouth and blurred vision.

Currently, Lyrica's approved uses in the United States are for diabetic nerve pain, shingles-related discomfort, fibromyalgia and epileptic seizures.

In other Pfizer news:

• Intellipharmaceutics International Inc. announced an agreement with Pfizer to settle a patent dispute over Effexor XR capsules. Under terms of the agreement, Intellipharmaceutics will be licensed to sell the drug as a generic in the United States as soon as the Food and Drug Administration approves its sale. Financial terms were not disclosed.

• The U.S. Supreme Court said it wouldn't hear an appeal of a $58 million judgment against Pfizer over the effects of hormone-replacement drug Prempro that the company acquired when it bought Wyeth Pharmaceuticals. Pfizer had argued for a new trial in the case, based partly on inflammatory comments made by the three plaintiffs' attorney, who claimed Prempro caused his clients' breast cancer.

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