Fibromyalgia and the Drug ‘Lyrica’

As you may or may not have heard, Lyrica is a drug recently approved by the FDA for the treatment of fibromyalgia symptoms. Recently television advertisements have appeared describing the drug as the only approved medication for fibromyalgia.

Lyrica was originally used to treat neuropathic (nerve) pain such as that seen in shingles or diabetes. Since many millions of people suffer from fibromyalgia symptoms in the U.S. (at least 3-6 million), it’s little wonder that patients may be interested in this treatment. For some, the thought of a new wonder drug can be irresistible.

Although treating pain is important, many patients may find this approach wanting because the cause of the pain isn’t addressed. For those who choose the drug approach, they need to consider side affects associated with the drug. In one study, 14% of patients discontinued use because of side effects. The most common side effects were dizziness and sleepiness. More rarely, patients complained of disturbance of balance, confusion, thinking abnormally, blurred vision, and edema (swelling) of the legs.

With any type of drug you consider, discuss your concerns with a medical doctor. For some patients, drug treatment is the best approach but it’s probably best to try more conservative treatments first. Most doctors will agree that non-invasive treatments hold the lowest risk for potential side effects.

Have you considered chiropractic in your fibromyalgia care plan? How is your spinal motion and posture? These factors can influence how much pain you experience and are often overlooked by the typical patient with fibromyalgia. The most common pain symptom in fibromyalgia is low back pain. Many scientific studies have shown the effectiveness of chiropractic care for patients with low back pain. It also has a very low risk for side affects or adverse reactions.

Have you addressed the excess weight you may have put on over the years? Weight-loss and a low -inflammation diet are important adjuncts to fibromyalgia care and have been shown in studies to be effective. Another conservative approach is aerobic and strength/resistance exercise. These activities can greatly influence your symptoms and are also backed up by solid scientific evidence. So although there is some evidence of a new drug’s effectiveness, you should also considers conservative treatments which show promise.