Lyrica is a newer medication on the market that has several uses including the ability to treat nerve pain associated with Diabetes and Shingles as well as an additional medical aid to assist in adult seizure episodes in epilepsy. Probably one of it's most talked about uses however is as a pain management medication for Fibromyalgia, an over all body condition that until lately has mystified the medical community and left many of it's victims feeling frustrated and in severe 24/7 pain and discomfort. Fibromyalgia affects day to day living in a number of ways and between 3-6 million people are now considered to be suffering from it.
Often FMS will make it's presence known/felt after a person suffers a stressful period in life, such as an accident, severe emotional changes etc., Symptoms are varied and can range from the dull through to the severe. Trigger points, palatable points on the body located in areas like the neck, chest, buttocks, forearms, legs, ankles etc., cause a person with FMS, when pressed, to react in pain that is much more pronounced than someone who doesn't suffer from it. A trigger point once pressed firmly in an FMS sufferer will normally be painful for hours or even days afterwards. Pain receptors in an FMS patient appear to become overly heightened which intensifies even the most insignificant pain experience that someone without FMS may find only slightly annoying or inconsequential. This is considered the most definitive test available for determining whether FMS is indeed the problem. Sleep disturbances, insomnia, thought processing, ability to handle heat/cold etc., as well as confusion, forgetfulness (known as 'fog') and numerous other symptoms plague the Fibromyalgia sufferer. Depression is also a very common element that appears with this illness. Pain however is a prominent and very dibilitating aspect of FMS leaving sufferers unable to function in their day to day lives without the need to curtail, avoid and forgo many activities that prior to illness they took forgranted in being able to perform without effort. Fine motor and repetitive work duties as well as duties that require attentive, alertness and short term memory skills make FMS a leading cause for permanent disability in the work place today because a sufferer of this illness is impeded in all these areas.
I was diagnosed in 95 with severe, chronic Fibromyalgia. I began my trek with FMS after a vehicle accident in '93 left me paralyzed with pain for almost 2 years prior to being diagnosed. Back then I was considered a 'head case', someone who wanted to check out of living and just 'veg' for awhile. The fact that I held a full time high profile and demanding career, had 5 children, operated 2 part time businesses and was in the process of buying another business which would eventually become my 'retirement' past time seemed to do more to convince the Medical community (and even to some people I knew) that I just wanted 'out' of life rather than just to get on with it and get rid of whatever was going on. Of everything that FMS affects, I think it has been most difficult to accept the fact that I just can't be an energetic dynamo with enough energy to suit 10 people, any longer. Thankfully we've come a little further today in understanding what FMS is and what it isn't but unfortunately, where we haven't made a good deal of progress is in the treatment of FMS. Lyrica, a new medication for FMS sufferers is trying to make a difference and addresses the pain aspect of the illness. Perhaps not 100% effective in that area, I did find that Lyrica does help somewhat.
Lyrica wasn't the magic bullet for me but over the last year it has kept me on a bit more even keel. I still experience 18 out of 18 tenderpoint triggers more than I'd like and fatigue, short term memory problems, and all the other wonderful symptoms of this illness are still a day to day issue but at least I've been able to work through my days with a little less pain interfering along the way.
Of course it goes without saying that once you begin to put foreign chemicals into your body you aren't certain just how they will be accepted and Lyrica is no different in that respect. Anyone who notices a swelling, tightening of throat, tingling of lips, tongue etc., should contact their Doctor immediately as these could be signs of serious reactions to the medication. Lesser side effects include dizziness, dry mouth, weight gain (although I've not seen that one thankfully), coordination problems, headaches, shakiness or tremors (I've had this one). There are a number of other side effects that are possible but as with all medications, that seems to be almost a given. Despite the fact that one site, MedTv, lists 2 pages of known side effects for Lyrica, and I've had a number of them, I still think that the pros outweigh the cons in this case.
Lyrica is available in tablet form ranging from 25mg to 300mg. It is a more expensive medication, my prescription monthly is approx $83.00 for 30 150mg tablets, but as long as it continues to take the edge off my pain without causing too many side effects, I'll continue to take it. The day that a break through to put me back where I was in 93 comes along though? I'll be all over it!