Lyrica Found to Be Effective in Reducing Neuropathic Pain in Fibromyalgia Patients, Study Shows

Lyrica Found to Be Effective in Reducing Neuropathic Pain in Fibromyalgia Patients, Study Shows

Physicians may consider prescribing Lyrica (pregabalin) for fibromyalgia patients who have a primary complaint of neuropathic pain, new research shows.

The study, titled “A comparison of the effectiveness of amitriptilin and pregabalin treatment in fibromyalgia patients,” was published in the journal Northern Clinics of Istanbul.

Fibromyalgia is often treated with non-standardized methods, such as the use of antidepressants, some of which have shown significant effectiveness. One such antidepressant is Elavil (amitriptyline).

Another drug that has shown efficacy in fibromyalgia treatment is Lyrica, marketed by Pfizer. Lyrica was the first drug to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for fibromyalgia treatment. Because Lyrica acts independently of antiepileptics, antidepressants, or analgesics, it can be used safely with other drugs.

While there are several approved drugs for the treatment of fibromyalgia, no one pharmacological agent can completely resolve all the symptoms of the disease.

In the study, researchers set out to compare the effectiveness of two of these therapies: Elavil and Lyrica.

Researchers recruited 71 women with fibromyalgia and divided them into two groups. Thirty-six patients were treated with Lyrica at a dose of 450 mg, and 35 women were treated with Elavil at a dose of 25 mg.

After 12 weeks of treatment, the team assessed the patients’ condition through several tests, including the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire, Fatigue Severity Scale, Modified Fatigue Impact Scale, Hospital Anxiety Depression Scale, Nottingham Health Profile, Mini Mental State Test, and the Leeds Assessment of Neuropathic Symptoms and Signs (LANSS).

They also tested pain at all the tender points using a pressure algometer.

Results from the study showed that both drugs were able to improve pain, fatigue, sleep disorder, disability, psychological evaluation, and cognitive function. Elavil was found to be slightly more effective at decreasing pain; but this result was not significantly different between the two groups.

Interestingly, the study group included a number of patients who had neuropathic complaints, which are caused by damage to the nervous system and can result in dysesthesia, which are abnormal sensations, or in allodynia, which is pain from a normally nonpainful stimulus.

The LANSS test, used to assess neuropathic pain, showed that while that score improved significantly in both groups, there was a greater improvement in patients treated with Lyrica.

“We can say that neither drug is superior in terms of effectiveness on systemic symptoms of myalgia,” the team wrote. “However, we can state that amitriptyline [Elavil] is more effective in decreasing experimental pain, whereas pregabalin [Lyrica] is more effective in relieving neuropathic complaints.”

“According to these results, preference for pregabalin may be recommended in fibromyalgia patients whose primary complaint is neuropathic pain,” the team concluded.

8 comments

  1. Gary Bryer says:

    Lyrica for fibromyalgia is bullshit. Approx 30% of people with fibromyalgia, also have neuropathy. Lyrica DOES NOT WORK ON MUSCULAR PAIN, which is what fibromyalgia is, among other symptoms. Lyrica has many side effects that ruin ur day. The one thing that Lyrica did accomplish was to legitimize fibromyalgia in the minds of people. Helping replace the notion that fibromyalgia is in people’s minds, hypochondria, attention seekers (I wonder if people would have thought differently if had this been a man’s malady.
    Gary Bryer

    • Karen Lee says:

      No gabapentin is Neurontin. Not the same but perhaps related bc it is an antiepileptic drug as I was told. I believe prescribed to Fibro & other patients for neuropathic pain. Please be aware that gabapentin can be physically addictive, causing some severe side effects if stopped cold turkey &/or w/o medical supervision. One friend reported side effects to come up routinely as quickly as two hours past her daily dose time. She had nausia, increased bodily pain & headache. TWO hours. She’d been taking Neurontin for two yrs. A neurologist prescribed it for me 20 yrs ago for my pain (b4 Fibro was accepted as universally as it is now). I took 3 weeks at low dose. Caused permanent tinnitis (ringing in ears) which I’ve had ever since. Did nothing for Fibro pain. The tinnitis can be extreme, worsens when fatigued & fibro in full gear. It’s so loud it’s distracting. At the time it appeared I went to an audiologist for a full exam. I was told there was no treatment for it except a “white noise” insert in my ear. I declined bc I was already hearing too much. I was given Lyrica some years later. No improvement for any Fibro symptoms.
      I was a guinne pig for possible Fibro medications. I now refuse all. Most I’d tried anyway. None cure Fibro by stopping the cause but rather cover up by screwing with the normal function of your mind. Most “approved” or recommended off label treatments come with side effects that are exactly Fibro’s symptoms or much worse like suicidal ideations, depression etc. Thank you, but NO! I can get to those places well enough on my own. I deeply resent the medical community making the assumption Fibro is an “interpretation of the mind” of pain as opposed to actual pain. I have NEVER believed that nor does it make sense. Fibro is a failure at the mitrocondtial level in each cell that demands the constant use of cell energy yet fails to be able to maintain demand. We use our brain & muscle cells more than any other. Hence the brain tiredness or fibro fog. Hence the sore points where muscle groups cross. Hence my EEG indicating my arms which were tested indicating that despite being at complete rest that muscle use (energy) was constantly being generated. Hence when I over exert I get more sore & more fatigued. I have depleted my energy stores. Hence my varying ability to focus, depending on how heavy I’ve used my eyes, like on this screen. Hence my Fibro intensifying when I’m organically sick. My body is depleted even more attempting to repair. I could go on. (My EEG was conducted to determine the nerve damage from a herniated & another ruptured cervical disk after a whip lash injury. My fibro diagnosis came a little later to find out why I was having so much trouble walking. Ironic that the results pointed right at Fibro & the incessant release of demand for energy from my muscles. Fibro wasn’t on this dr’s radar at the time)

      This rise & fall is NOT a rise & fall in my brain’s interpretation but stems from an overload, incessant demand for energy in each cell. It has something to do with how the cells ATP, calcium, substance P and so forth don’t operate as they should. That also has am impact on neurotransmitter production in the gut, where the majority are produced & put to work. It is structly Big Pharma who is telling Fibro patients through ignorant, hypnotized physicians that our pain is generated in our head so that they can make millions on drugs they’ve already produced. No, I do NOT thank Big Pharma (BP) for so-called legitimizing Fibro. We sufferers legitimized it. Period. BP only legitimized their self-appointed superiority at finding ways to sell more drugs w/o research JUST EXACTLY as they did when a cpl decades ago they literally invented female inpotence. Most stupid piece of propaganda perpetrated on gullible women and their doctors who were dumb founded by their female patients who they obviously didn’t respect enough to dig deeper. Being primarily a woman’s disease, (think hormones might be at play?), Fibro is yet another example of women being patted on the head & told it’s all coming from that empty little noggin. It’s surprising Lupus isn’t considered “in one’s head”. RA would fall into the same category if not for physical changes. Arthritis is the original autoimmune disease. No one knows why the body takes that turn either. The mai. treatment is to merely, albeit dangerously, shut down the immune system to prevent it from working. That’s NO cure & is why you hear ads say you need to not have an infection already to use the mainstream DMARDS and that one could die from such infections. Fibro is a malfunction alright. But not of the body to brain conversation about pain. It affects EVERY system in the body. That explanation doesn’t account for the numerous other, even prominent symptoms like fatigue, 24 hr payback for over exertion, brain fog and many others not generally discussed.

      I can’t tell someone else what to do medically. But please get a competent rheumatologist who will listen & also explain. Wherever possible only take one new drug at a time (for at least 2 wks) so that you can determine which drug helps & which drug has what side effects. And last but not least, please do yourself a favor and try other modalities as much as you possibly can to overcome & cope with Fibro before you accept drugs & never give those up if you do begin a drug routine. You must reduce stress which is what tipped the balance for you in the first place. Try meditation, acupuncture & other relaxation techniques. Maintain your muscle mass & your stamina. Try yoga, heat, indoor swimming, walking, massage, Tai Chi. Most of those combine relaxation with keeping the body functioning. Eat well & eat organic as much as possible. Maintain your gut health. Find a really good probiotic (Hyper-biotics Pro-15 sold on Amazon) & eat foods that serve as a PRE-biotic. So much of our health is dependent upon the health of our gut. Read: What your doctor was afraid to tell you about Fibromyalgia. Written by a Fibro suffering doctor. It will expain a lot & help you understand the many other symptoms you have. Last, but certainly not least, only settle for a doctor who’s educated beyond what the drug rep tells him/her; one that listens & actually hears & responds to you; who will write prescriptions for acupuncture, physical therapy (for fibro ppl. Can NOT be by a no pain-no gain therapist. That’ll kill you), for swim therapy, for counseling for you & the family. Find support group. And teach yourself al you’re able about the disease, self-treatment, non-drug treatment & nutrition. Do NOT ever give up your routine to help yourself. It seems so many Fibro ppl are Type-A, hi-achievers. We sacrifice ourselves & do for others first. I made this mistake & allowing my husband to form an opinion rather than educating himself for the first 15 years. I still cope with self imposed guilt & shame. Does not help. Your disease is legit. Is not in your head & to survive & be the best you can be for yourself to be the best you can be for others you MUST maintain your regimine of health from stress reduction, bowing out when you know you should, to getting help, to maintaining yourself physically, to nutrition.

      Those are the topics I rarely see discussed in forums. Instead I see drugs discussed. It’s shameful that this disease is only discusssed in this manner. Just like diabetis & heart disease should never be discussed in a vacuum only containing drugs. You’ll only get sicker & more miserable if you don’t devise, evolve & maintain a routine to keep supported. That is where we all need permission to go in our exchanges & need to establish first. Unfortunately, rare is the doctor who will help with anything that’s not told to him/her by a drug rep. Sorry folks. That’s where we are. Your health & improvement is completely up to you.

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