Info Regarding Lyrica in Fibromyalgia

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by JLH, Aug 11, 2006.

  1. JLH

    JLH New Member

    Lyrica in Fibromyalgia

    By Dr. Michael McNett

    Lyrica (pregabalin) is a very promising new medication for fibromyalgia and other chronic pain conditions. It was released this year by Pfizer and is approved by the FDA for treatment of post-herpetic neuralgia (persistent pain after a case of shingles), diabetic peripheral neuropathic pain (pain due to diabetes attacking the nerves), and partial onset seizures in adults.

    Lyrica is structurally similar to another anticonvulsant commonly used for pain: Neurontin (gabapentin). Despite this similarity, it appears to work on a completely different part of the nerve membrane (technically, the “voltage-gated calcium channel”). As a result, it may work well in people who either haven’t benefited from or who have had adverse reactions to Neurontin in the past.

    A recent study showed the benefit of Lyrica in fibromyalgia patients. In this study (Crofford, et. al.,Arthritis and Rheumatism 2005 Apr 7;52(4):1264-1273), 529 patients were treated for eight weeks with varying doses of Lyrica or placebo. Overall, the Lyrica patients reported a significantly greater level of pain relief, with almost half noting a 30 percent or greater reduction in pain. At the highest dose (450mg/day), almost a third noted 50 percent or greater pain relief. In addition, improvements in sleep, fatigue, and overall quality of life were also noted.

    Lyrica is generally well tolerated, even among side-effect-prone fibro patients. Adverse reactions that are occasionally seen include dizziness, drowsiness, and increased brain fog or confusion. (Don’t drive after your first dose until you see how it affects you!) Fewer than five percent of the people having these symptoms had to stop the medication due to them, however. About eight percent of people taking it had weight gain—if you gain over five pounds within a month of starting it, be sure to tell your doctor. Water retention, liver problems, and blurred vision are infrequent side effects.

    For fibromyalgia, Lyrica is usually started at 150mg/day (50mg three times a day or 75mg twice a day), then increased to 300mg/day. It comes in 25, 50, 75, 100, 150, 200, 225, and 300mg capsules. One inconvenience is that it must be taken two or three times a day, since it’s rapidly eliminated by the kidneys. While the company is reluctant to give samples, they are providing doctors with “get your first week free” stickers to put on your prescription.

    It’s important not to stop Lyrica too abruptly, particularly if you’re on the 450mg/day dose. Doing so can cause headaches, insomnia, nausea, or loose stools. If you need to stop it, tapering over one to two weeks is preferred.

    Lyrica is an important new tool in the fight against fibromyalgia. Many people have seen dramatic improvements by taking it, and it’s generally well-tolerated. Ask your doctor if it’s right for you. Good luck!

    Source: NFA newsletter

  2. JLH

    JLH New Member

  3. peachbunnee

    peachbunnee New Member

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