Shingles drug may capture half the market, Decision Resources predicts

WALTHAM, Mass. A once-a-day formulation of a Pfizer drug potentially could capture half of the market for a painful complication related to shingles, according to a report by market research firm Decision Resources.

The report found that Pfizer’s drug Neurontin (gabapentin) could take 50% of the market for postherpetic neuralgia, also known as after-shingles pain, which causes pain in patients who have had shingles, a disease that often occurs later in life among people who have had chickenpox. The report was based on surveys of neurologists in the United States and Europe, where those surveyed said it would capture a 40% share of the market.

The report also found concern among experts regarding the pain associated with use of the drug Qutenza (capsaicin), by NeurogesX and Astellas Pharma, which Decision Resources said prevented that drug from earning its clinical gold-standard status.

“Although experts recognize the long-term efficacy of a single administration of Qutenza as a significant advantage, they cite the need to manage the transient path associated with the drug’s administration as a significant disadvantage,” Decision Resources analyst Sami Fam said. “In the balance of these attributes however, experts consider Qutenza a therapeutic option that compares favorably with Lidoderm.”

Lidoderm, known generically as lidocaine, is made by Endo Pharmaceuticals.