It’s obvious that when a Facebook group called “Lyrica Survivors” exists (and has thousands of members)… there’s more going on with that drug than what its commercials are revealing.
And if you read some of the stories from patients prescribed Lyrica, surviving the drug is indeed an achievement.
It’s been linked to such a long list of adverse reactions that I couldn’t even fit half of them in here — yet, it’s still marching on as Pfizer’s billion-dollar baby.
Despite all those side effects, however, there’s yet another version of this med about to hit the market. The FDA just approved the “new and improved” Lyrica CR, which must have Pfizer execs rubbing their hands together in anticipation of the additional riches this latest version will bring.
But if you’re dealing with any kind of pain, knowing about the side effects Lyrica might cause you to suffer is something you can’t wait another moment to hear.
Especially since there are plenty of other ways to stop that pain right in its tracks — and not one of them will make you think about death “every single day.”
‘A cause for concern’
The experiences Lyrica users reveal are horrifying.
One tells how the drug was “a miracle” in taking away her fibromyalgia and diabetic nerve pain — at first. But somewhere along the way, that “risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior” warned about on the label kicked in, and she started thinking about death all the time.
“It was exhausting just trying to stay alive,” she says.
Likewise, Paula was taking Lyrica for shingles pain, saying it “worked wonderfully well,” at least initially. But then, she started experiencing “brain fog, weight gain, and incontinence.”
Even after tapering off the med, she still has night sweats, insomnia, headaches, and nausea.
Sue says she’s worried that her memory has begun to fade since being on Lyrica. Kathy started having severe vision problems, memory loss, and anxiety, while Mike is now having spells of dizziness and vertigo.
Seriously, I could go on and on all day telling you about the pain and suffering Lyrica has put patients through.
But despite the misery this drug has left in its wake, the FDA somehow believes we need more of it!
So, enter Lyrica CR, an extended-release formula that only has to be taken once a day.
One of the most worrisome things about the drug, however, is that you don’t even need to suffer from any of the conditions it’s approved for to have your doctor whip off an Rx for it. It’s now being prescribed like candy for most any complaint of pain (which may be how its sales hit $4.4 billion last year).
But that dizzying uptick in sales for a drug originally developed for seizures isn’t flying completely under the radar.
Two professors at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine recently revealed in the New England Journal of Medicine how, in many cases, doctors are sending patients with a variety of pain issues out the door with an off-label Rx for Lyrica instead of an opioid.
The pair called that a “cause for concern,” considering Lyrica’s “potentially serious side effects” combined with the fact that the drug doesn’t even work unless the pain is nerve-related. But, they say, it seems like docs just want to give out an Rx and “get on with the day.”
They added that pain should not just “be addressed” with drugs but “holistic avenues as well.”
And that’s something I think we can all agree on. Considering how beneficial many holistic therapies have been found to be on a wide variety of pain-related ailments, there’s no reason not to give one — or more — a try before resorting to any risky med.
For example, there’s:
- acupuncture for low back pain, knee osteoarthritis, and headaches,
- chiropractic adjustments for back and neck pain,
- yoga for chronic pain including fibromyalgia,
- supplements (such as fish oil) with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids that can knock down inflammation for arthritis pain, and
- vitamin B12, which can not only help you dodge shingles in the first place but also minimize the side effects should you develop it (in which case it’s given as an injection).
In addition, there are some effective ways to nip pain in the bud using topical creams such as ones containing capsaicin (made from chili peppers) and arnica.
And one of those treatments may very well help you get on with your day free of pain… and of Lyrica!
“With a year left before generics hit, Pfizer nabs FDA approval for new-and-improved Lyrica” Eric Sagonowsky, October 12, 2017, FiercePharma, fiercepharma.com