Fibromyalgia is a perplexing and often debilitating disorder, but treatment can help. Lyrica, a medicine used to treat patients with seizures, pain from shingles, and nerve pain from diabetes and spinal cord injuries, is offering new hope to those living with the pain of fibromyalgia. Here is what you need to know about the use of Lyrica to manage fibromyalgia, from the drug's benefits to its side effects.
What Is Lyrica?
Lyrica (pregabalin) is an FDA-approved drug treatment for fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder that causes long-term, widespread muscle pain and tenderness, trouble sleeping, and overwhelming tiredness.
Lyrica is not an antidepressant. Rather, it is a drug that targets nerve signals. The medicine has long been used to relieve nerve pain in patients with shingles and diabetic neuropathy. It is also used to treat partial seizures.
How Does Lyrica Work?
Fibromyalgia pain is believed to be brought on by nerve-related changes, which cause nerve cells to fire off too many signals. This renders a person overly sensitive to stimuli that are normally not painful.
Scientists aren't exactly sure how Lyrica improves fibromyalgia symptoms, but laboratory research suggests Lyrica helps decrease the number of nerve signals, and as a result calms down overly sensitive nerve cells. This appears to alleviate pain in patients with fibromyalgia.
How Do You Take Lyrica?
When used for fibromyalgia, Lyrica is a capsule that is usually taken in divided doses twice a day. Doses range from 150 milligrams to 450 milligrams a day. Your doctor will determine the best dose for you. If you miss taking one capsule, you should take it as soon as possible -- unless it is close to the time when you are supposed to take the next one. Never take two or more at the same time.
You should not suddenly stop taking this medicine. Doing so can give you a headache, upset stomach, diarrhea, and sleeping difficulties. If you wish or need to stop taking the medicine, your doctor will tell you how to slowly reduce your dose over time.
The Benefits of Lyrica
Lyrica can quickly reduce pain, improve sleep, and help some people with fibromyalgia function better and get back to their daily routines. In studies, some patients reported significantly less pain after taking Lyrica for only one week. Lyrica, however, may not help everyone with fibromyalgia.