First treatment for Fibromyalgia pain now available in Canada



    
    Relief in sight for Canadians suffering from a common chronic
    widespread pain condition
    

    KIRKLAND, QC, May 12 /CNW/ - Pfizer Canada Inc. announced today that
LYRICA(R) (pregabalin) is now indicated for the management of pain associated
with fibromyalgia, giving the approximately one million Canadians who suffer
from this debilitating condition a key component towards managing their
disease.
    This new indication announcement, made on International Fibromyalgia
Awareness Day, represents positive news for fibromyalgia sufferers since pain
associated with the condition previously had no approved treatment options in
Canada.
    "Fibromyalgia is a life altering and complex condition that has been and
continues to be under-treated in the medical community," said Dr. Gordon D.
Ko, Medical Director, Canadian Centre for Integrative Medicine and Consultant
in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at Sunnybrook Health Sciences
Centre, University of Toronto. "Now that there is a viable and effective
treatment option available, there is hope that this will change and those who
suffer from fibromyalgia will find relief from their pain."
    Characterized by a chronic widespread pain that can be relentless,
fibromyalgia is usually accompanied by poor sleep, stiffness and fatigue;
sufferers also report experiencing deep tenderness, soreness and flu-like
aching. There is not one specific cause of fibromyalgia. Some of the
associations that have been identified include heredity, physical trauma,
emotional trauma, infection or autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid
arthritis or lupus.
    Fibromyalgia has baffled and frustrated the health care profession for
years. Often difficult to diagnose, fibromyalgia cannot be detected through a
blood test or x-ray. Diagnostic criteria were developed in 1990 by the
American College of Rheumatology to help patients and their physicians
recognize the condition, learn to manage the disease, and define treatment
plans to provide relief for symptoms. Women are much more likely to report
suffering from fibromyalgia than men, although the condition affects both
sexes.
    "Fibromyalgia sufferers are often stigmatized as chronic complainers,"
said Dr. Ko. "However, the ambiguity of the symptoms that they experience
doesn't diminish their pain. Patients with fibromyalgia report pain at much
lower levels of stimulus than those without the condition, which has been
confirmed in several studies, including technology with advanced functional
MRI scanning of the brain. It is as if the "volume control" for pain is turned
up."
    Fibromyalgia can be debilitating and can have devastating effects on a
sufferer's life, impacting one's ability to work and engage in everyday
activities, as well as their relationships with family, friends and employers.
Because it often results in lost work days, lost income and disability
payments, fibromyalgia exerts a substantial health and economic burden in
Canada due to lost productivity, psychological damage and disability.
    Sandra Gartz, diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 1985, knows all too well the
devastating impact that the disorder can have on one's quality of life. She
managed to work as a nurse through two work related accidents while suffering
from leg cramps, headaches and severe pain in different parts of her body.
Unfortunately in 1995, a third accident delivered the final blow: she tripped
while walking upstairs when she was working as a home care nurse and hasn't
been able to work since.
    "I tell people to imagine having the flu. You hurt from head to toe and
just want to lie on the couch all day," said Sandra. "The flu is something
people can relate to. But with fibromyalgia, you can't stay in bed for the
rest of your life. You have to get up, move around and carry on."
    Now the leader of her local fibromyalgia support group for 10 years,
Sandra has her family doctor, massage therapist, pharmacist, family and good
friends for support. "Sometimes I think that living with fibromyalgia is like
living with an invisible illness. The pain I feel is very real, but through
the eyes of others, I don't look sick," said Sandra. "Having an actual medical
treatment become available to manage some symptoms of my illness has now made
my pain real to others."

    About LYRICA

    LYRICA is an analgesic agent that selectively binds to a specific
sub-unit of calcium channels that modulates nerve transmission in the brain
and spinal cord, thereby reducing the activity of hyperexcited nerve cells
involved in pain. This mechanism restores nerve cell function to more normal
levels. The safety of LYRICA for fibromyalgia has been established in 3,446
patients (controlled and uncontrolled studies) and has a favourable safety
profile. The most common treatment-related adverse events ((greater than or
equal to) 5% and twice the rate of that seen in placebo) in controlled
clinical studies in fibromyalgia were: dizziness, somnolence, weight gain, dry
mouth, blurred vision, peripheral edema, constipation, and disturbance in
attention. Adverse events were usually mild to moderate in intensity. LYRICA
is also indicated for the management of neuropathic pain associated with
diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN) and postherpetic neuralgia (PHN). It is
approved, with conditions, for the use in management of central neuropathic
pain (CNeP). This includes nerve pain associated with conditions such as
spinal cord injury, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson's disease.

    About Pfizer Canada Inc.

    Pfizer Canada Inc. is the Canadian operation of Pfizer Inc, the world's
leading pharmaceutical company. Pfizer discovers, develops, manufactures and
markets prescription medicines for humans and animals. Pfizer's ongoing
research and development activities focus on a wide range of therapeutic areas
following our guiding aspiration: Working for a healthier world. For more
information, visit www.pfizer.ca.
    LYRICA is a trade-mark of Pfizer Products Inc., Pfizer Canada Inc.,
licensee.





For further information:

For further information: or to book an interview with a physician or
patient, please contact: Karen Nussbaum, Thornley Fallis Communications, (416)
515-7517 x334 or (647) 294-3321, nussbaum@thornleyfallis.com; Marissa
Lukaitis, Thornley Fallis Communications, (416) 515-7517 x324 or (416)
473-9916, lukaitis@thornleyfallis.com; Heather Bisset, Pfizer Canada, (514)
693-4712, heather.bisset@pfizer.com


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