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Lyrica May Ease Pain for Depressed Fibro Patients

Study finds drug safe, effective in combination with antidepressants


Lyrica was started at a dose of 150 milligrams (mg) a day and increased to 300 mg to 450 mg, based on response.

At the start, the average pain score was 6.7 of 10. After taking Lyrica, the pain score dropped to 4.84 and after taking the placebo it fell to 5.45. The drug worked better than placebo. "It was a noticeable improvement in pain," Arnold said.

Side effects with the drug included dizziness and drowsiness, Arnold said. Four serious adverse effects occurred but were unrelated to the drug, she said.

The drug is thought to reduce pain by reducing pain signals in the central nervous system, Arnold said.

Online, a month's supply of Lyrica in the 300 mg- dosage sells for about $100, although prices vary depending on supplier.

Doctors and other health care providers have prescribed Lyrica along with antidepressants for years, said Dr. Patrick Wood, director of the Fibromyalgia Specialty Center at Madison River Oaks Medical Center Hospital in Madison County, Miss.

"This [study] provides some small reassurance that what people have been doing all along is 'safe,''' he said.

However, Wood noted, the drug -- approved for fibromyalgia treatment in 2007 in the United States -- doesn't provide total relief. The score reported after taking the drug -- 4.8 of 10 -- is ''still a lot of pain," he said. "A pain-free person has a zero to one."

Data and conclusions presented at meetings are typically considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

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