12 CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY
12.1 Mechanism of Action
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 Patients (3 months to less than 17 years of age)
Pregabalin pharmacokinetics were evaluated in 358 pediatric patients 3 months to less than 17 years of age with partial-onset seizures at dose levels of 2.5, 5, 10, and 15 mg/kg/day after single and multiple oral administration of pregabalin. Following oral administration, pregabalin reaches peak plasma concentration at 0.5 hours to 2 hours in the fasted state. Both apparent clearance (CL/F) and apparent volume of distribution increase as body weight increases. A weight-based dosing regimen is necessary to achieve pregabalin exposures in pediatric patients 1 month to less than 17 years of age similar to those observed in adults treated for partial-onset seizures at effective doses [see Dosage and Administration (2.4)]. The mean t½ is 3 to 4 hours in pediatric subjects up to 6 years of age, and 4 to 6 hours in those 7 years of age and older. Pregabalin CL/F is nearly proportional to CLcr (mL/min). The relationship is similar in pediatric and adult subjects. When normalized per body weight, CL/F (mL/min/kg) in pediatric subjects weighing less than 30 kg is approximately 40% higher in comparison to subjects weighing greater than or equal to 30 kg [see Dosage and Administration (2.4)].
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.
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 µg, 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:
|Therapeutic class||Specific concomitant drug studied|
|Concomitant drug has no effect on the pharmacokinetics of pregabalin|
|Hypoglycemics||Glyburide, insulin, metformin|
|Concomitant drug has no effect on the pharmacokinetics of pregabalin and pregabalin has no effect on the pharmacokinetics of concomitant drug|
|Antiepileptic Drugs||Carbamazepine, lamotrigine, phenobarbital, phenytoin, topiramate, valproic acid|