Pregabalin binds with high affinity to the alpha2 -delta site (an auxiliary subunit of voltage-gated calcium channels) in central nervous system tissues. Although the mechanism of action of pregabalin has not been fully elucidated, results with genetically modified mice and with compounds structurally related to pregabalin (such as gabapentin) suggest that binding to the alpha2 -delta subunit may be involved in pregabalin’s anti-nociceptive and antiseizure effects in animals. In animal models of nerve damage, pregabalin has been shown to reduce calcium-dependent release of pro-nociceptive neurotransmitters in the spinal cord, possibly by disrupting alpha2 -delta containing-calcium channel trafficking and/or reducing calcium currents. Evidence from other animal models of nerve damage and persistent pain suggest the anti-nociceptive activities of pregabalin may also be mediated through interactions with descending noradrenergic and serotonergic pathways originating from the brainstem that modulate pain transmission in the spinal cord.
While pregabalin is a structural derivative of the inhibitory neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), it does not bind directly to GABAA , GABAB , or benzodiazepine receptors, does not augment GABAA responses in cultured neurons, does not alter rat brain GABA concentration or have acute effects on GABA uptake or degradation. However, in cultured neurons prolonged application of pregabalin increases the density of GABA transporter protein and increases the rate of functional GABA transport. Pregabalin does not block sodium channels, is not active at opiate receptors, and does not alter cyclooxygenase enzyme activity. It is inactive at serotonin and dopamine receptors and does not inhibit dopamine, serotonin, or noradrenaline reuptake.
Pregabalin is well absorbed after oral administration, is eliminated largely by renal excretion, and has an elimination half-life of about 6 hours.
Absorption and Distribution
Following oral administration of pregabalin capsules under fasting conditions, peak plasma concentrations occur within 1.5 hours. Pregabalin oral bioavailability is greater than or equal to 90% and is independent of dose. Following single- (25 to 300 mg) and multiple-dose (75 to 900 mg/day) administration, maximum plasma concentrations (Cmax ) and area under the plasma concentration-time curve (AUC) values increase linearly. Following repeated administration, steady state is achieved within 24 to 48 hours. Multiple-dose pharmacokinetics can be predicted from single-dose data.
The rate of pregabalin absorption is decreased when given with food, resulting in a decrease in Cmax of approximately 25% to 30% and an increase in Tmax to approximately 3 hours. However, administration of pregabalin with food has no clinically relevant effect on the total absorption of pregabalin. Therefore, pregabalin can be taken with or without food.
Pregabalin does not bind to plasma proteins. The apparent volume of distribution of pregabalin following oral administration is approximately 0.5 L/kg. Pregabalin is a substrate for system L transporter which is responsible for the transport of large amino acids across the blood brain barrier. Although there are no data in humans, pregabalin has been shown to cross the blood brain barrier in mice, rats, and monkeys. In addition, pregabalin has been shown to cross the placenta in rats and is present in the milk of lactating rats.
Metabolism and Elimination
Pregabalin undergoes negligible metabolism in humans. Following a dose of radiolabeled pregabalin, approximately 90% of the administered dose was recovered in the urine as unchanged pregabalin. The N-methylated derivative of pregabalin, the major metabolite of pregabalin found in urine, accounted for 0.9% of the dose. In preclinical studies, pregabalin (S-enantiomer) did not undergo racemization to the R-enantiomer in mice, rats, rabbits, or monkeys.
Pregabalin is eliminated from the systemic circulation primarily by renal excretion as unchanged drug with a mean elimination half-life of 6.3 hours in subjects with normal renal function. Mean renal clearance was estimated to be 67.0 to 80.9 mL/min in young healthy subjects. Because pregabalin is not bound to plasma proteins this clearance rate indicates that renal tubular reabsorption is involved. Pregabalin elimination is nearly proportional to creatinine clearance (CLcr) [see Dosage and Administration (2.7)].
Pharmacokinetics in Specific Populations
In population pharmacokinetic analyses of the clinical studies in various populations, the pharmacokinetics of pregabalin were not significantly affected by race (Caucasians, Blacks, and Hispanics).
Population pharmacokinetic analyses of the clinical studies showed that the relationship between daily dose and pregabalin drug exposure is similar between genders.
Renal Impairment and Hemodialysis
Pregabalin clearance is nearly proportional to creatinine clearance (CLcr). Dosage reduction in patients with renal dysfunction is necessary. Pregabalin is effectively removed from plasma by hemodialysis. Following a 4-hour hemodialysis treatment, plasma pregabalin concentrations are reduced by approximately 50%. For patients on hemodialysis, dosing must be modified [see Dosage and Administration (2.7) ].
Pregabalin oral clearance tended to decrease with increasing age. This decrease in pregabalin oral clearance is consistent with age-related decreases in CLcr. Reduction of pregabalin dose may be required in patients who have age-related compromised renal function [see Dosage and Administration (2.7)].
Pediatric Pharmacokinetics Pediatric use information is approved for Pfizer’s LYRICA (pregabalin) Capsules and Oral Solution products. However, due to Pfizer’s marketing exclusivity rights, this drug product is not labeled with that pediatric information.
In Vitro Studies
Pregabalin, at concentrations that were, in general, 10-times those attained in clinical trials, does not inhibit human CYP1A2, CYP2A6, CYP2C9, CYP2C19, CYP2D6, CYP2E1, and CYP3A4 enzyme systems. In vitro drug interaction studies demonstrate that pregabalin does not induce CYP1A2 or CYP3A4 activity. Therefore, an increase in the metabolism of coadministered CYP1A2 substrates (e.g. theophylline, caffeine) or CYP 3A4 substrates (e.g., midazolam, testosterone) is not anticipated.
In Vivo Studies
The drug interaction studies described in this section were conducted in healthy adults, and across various patient populations.
The pharmacokinetic interactions of pregabalin and gabapentin were investigated in 12 healthy subjects following concomitant single-dose administration of 100-mg pregabalin and 300-mg gabapentin and in 18 healthy subjects following concomitant multiple-dose administration of 200-mg pregabalin every 8 hours and 400-mg gabapentin every 8 hours. Gabapentin pharmacokinetics following single- and multiple-dose administration were unaltered by pregabalin coadministration. The extent of pregabalin absorption was unaffected by gabapentin coadministration, although there was a small reduction in rate of absorption.
Pregabalin coadministration (200 mg three times a day) had no effect on the steady-state pharmacokinetics of norethindrone and ethinyl estradiol (1 mg/35 mcg, respectively) in healthy subjects.
Multiple-dose administration of pregabalin (300 mg twice a day) in healthy subjects had no effect on the rate and extent of lorazepam single-dose pharmacokinetics and single-dose administration of lorazepam (1 mg) had no effect on the steady-state pharmacokinetics of pregabalin.
Multiple-dose administration of pregabalin (300 mg twice a day) in healthy subjects had no effect on the rate and extent of oxycodone single-dose pharmacokinetics. Single-dose administration of oxycodone (10 mg) had no effect on the steady-state pharmacokinetics of pregabalin.
Multiple-dose administration of pregabalin (300 mg twice a day) in healthy subjects had no effect on the rate and extent of ethanol single-dose pharmacokinetics and single-dose administration of ethanol (0.7 g/kg) had no effect on the steady-state pharmacokinetics of pregabalin.
Phenytoin, carbamazepine, valproic acid, and lamotrigine
Steady-state trough plasma concentrations of phenytoin, carbamazepine and carbamazepine 10,11 epoxide, valproic acid, and lamotrigine were not affected by concomitant pregabalin (200 mg three times a day) administration.
Population pharmacokinetic analyses in patients treated with pregabalin and various concomitant medications suggest the following:
Specific concomitant drug studied
Concomitant drug has no effect on the pharmacokinetics of pregabalin
Glyburide, insulin, metformin
Concomitant drug has no effect on the pharmacokinetics of pregabalin and pregabalin has no effect on the pharmacokinetics of concomitant drug
Carbamazepine, lamotrigine, phenobarbital, phenytoin, topiramate, valproic acid
A dose-dependent increase in the incidence of malignant vascular tumors (hemangiosarcomas) was observed in two strains of mice (B6C3F1 and CD-1) given pregabalin (200, 1,000, or 5,000 mg/kg) in the diet for two years. Plasma pregabalin exposure (AUC) in mice receiving the lowest dose that increased hemangiosarcomas was approximately equal to the human exposure at the maximum recommended dose (MRD) of 600 mg/day. A no-effect dose for induction of hemangiosarcomas in mice was not established. No evidence of carcinogenicity was seen in two studies in Wistar rats following dietary administration of pregabalin for two years at doses (50, 150, or 450 mg/kg in males and 100, 300, or 900 mg/kg in females) that were associated with plasma exposures in males and females up to approximately 14 and 24 times, respectively, human exposure at the MRD.
Pregabalin was not mutagenic in bacteria or in mammalian cells in vitro , was not clastogenic in mammalian systems in vitro and in vivo , and did not induce unscheduled DNA synthesis in mouse or rat hepatocytes.
Impairment of Fertility
In fertility studies in which male rats were orally administered pregabalin (50 to 2,500 mg/kg) prior to and during mating with untreated females, a number of adverse reproductive and developmental effects were observed. These included decreased sperm counts and sperm motility, increased sperm abnormalities, reduced fertility, increased preimplantation embryo loss, decreased litter size, decreased fetal body weights, and an increased incidence of fetal abnormalities. Effects on sperm and fertility parameters were reversible in studies of this duration (3 to 4 months). The no-effect dose for male reproductive toxicity in these studies (100 mg/kg) was associated with a plasma pregabalin exposure (AUC) approximately 3 times human exposure at the maximum recommended dose (MRD) of 600 mg/day.
In addition, adverse reactions on reproductive organ (testes, epididymides) histopathology were observed in male rats exposed to pregabalin (500 to 1,250 mg/kg) in general toxicology studies of four weeks or greater duration. The no-effect dose for male reproductive organ histopathology in rats (250 mg/kg) was associated with a plasma exposure approximately 8 times human exposure at the MRD.
In a fertility study in which female rats were given pregabalin (500, 1,250, or 2,500 mg/kg) orally prior to and during mating and early gestation, disrupted estrous cyclicity and an increased number of days to mating were seen at all doses, and embryolethality occurred at the highest dose. The low dose in this study produced a plasma exposure approximately 9 times that in humans receiving the MRD. A no-effect dose for female reproductive toxicity in rats was not established.
Skin lesions ranging from erythema to necrosis were seen in repeated-dose toxicology studies in both rats and monkeys. The etiology of these skin lesions is unknown. At the maximum recommended human dose (MRD) of 600 mg/day, there is a 2-fold safety margin for the dermatological lesions. The more severe dermatopathies involving necrosis were associated with pregabalin exposures (as expressed by plasma AUCs) of approximately 3 to 8 times those achieved in humans given the MRD. No increase in incidence of skin lesions was observed in clinical studies.
Ocular lesions (characterized by retinal atrophy [including loss of photoreceptor cells] and/or corneal inflammation/mineralization) were observed in two lifetime carcinogenicity studies in Wistar rats. These findings were observed at plasma pregabalin exposures (AUC) greater than or equal to 2 times those achieved in humans given the maximum recommended dose of 600 mg/day. A no-effect dose for ocular lesions was not established. Similar lesions were not observed in lifetime carcinogenicity studies in two strains of mice or in monkeys treated for 1 year.
The efficacy of the maximum recommended dose of pregabalin for the management of neuropathic pain associated with diabetic peripheral neuropathy was established in three double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter studies with three times a day dosing, two of which studied the maximum recommended dose. Patients were enrolled with either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes mellitus and a diagnosis of painful distal symmetrical sensorimotor polyneuropathy for 1 to 5 years. A total of 89% of patients completed Studies DPN 1 and DPN 2. The patients had a minimum mean baseline pain score of greater than or equal to 4 on an 11-point numerical pain rating scale ranging from 0 (no pain) to 10 (worst possible pain). The baseline mean pain scores across the two studies ranged from 6.1 to 6.7. Patients were permitted up to 4 grams of acetaminophen per day as needed for pain, in addition to pregabalin. Patients recorded their pain daily in a diary.
Study DPN 1: This 5-week study compared pregabalin 25, 100, or 200 mg three times a day with placebo. Treatment with pregabalin 100 and 200 mg three times a day statistically significantly improved the endpoint mean pain score and increased the proportion of patients with at least a 50% reduction in pain score from baseline. There was no evidence of a greater effect on pain scores of the 200 mg three times a day dose than the 100 mg three times a day dose, but there was evidence of dose dependent adverse reactions [see Adverse Reactions (6.1)]. For a range of levels of improvement in pain intensity from baseline to study endpoint, Figure 1 shows the fraction of patients achieving that level of improvement. The figure is cumulative, so that patients whose change from baseline is, for example, 50%, are also included at every level of improvement below 50%. Patients who did not complete the study were assigned 0% improvement. Some patients experienced a decrease in pain as early as Week 1, which persisted throughout the study.
Study DPN 2: This 8-week study compared pregabalin 100 mg three times a day with placebo. Treatment with pregabalin 100 mg three times a day statistically significantly improved the endpoint mean pain score and increased the proportion of patients with at least a 50% reduction in pain score from baseline. For various levels of improvement in pain intensity from baseline to study endpoint, Figure 2 shows the fraction of patients achieving that level of improvement. The figure is cumulative, so that patients whose change from baseline is, for example, 50%, are also included at every level of improvement below 50%. Patients who did not complete the study were assigned 0% improvement. Some patients experienced a decrease in pain as early as Week 1, which persisted throughout the study.
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