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Fibromyalgia and the Drug “Lyrica”

In 2007, Lyrica was approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of fibromyalgia symptoms.

Lyrica was originally used to treat neuropathic (nerve) pain associated with shingles or diabetes. Since many suffer from fibromyalgia symptoms in the United States alone (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 this treatment approach, they need to consider the potential side effects associated with it. The most common side effects are dizziness and sleepiness. More rarely, patients complain of disturbed balance, confusion, abnormal thinking, blurred vision, and edema (swelling) of the legs. In one study, 14% of patients discontinued use because of adverse effects.

For many patients, it may be best to try more conservative non-pharmacological and non-invasive 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 fibromyalgia patient. 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 effects 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.

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