Is Lyrica useful in relieving pain? Heavily promoted as treatment for relieving pain due to diabetic neuropathy and fibromyalgia, Lyrica advertisements blanket the airways. While some studies demonstrate a small benefit when compared to an inactive placebo, others fail to show any difference.

Marketed both as an anticonvulsant and as an antidote to nerve related pain, this drug finds indiscriminate use in for a wide assortment of painful conditions in addition to diabetic neuropathy, infuriating discomfort after the shingles and fibromyalgia.

While the drug may indeed offer an alternative to narcotic pain medicines, its ability to improve pain appears almost indistinguishable from a cheap placebo.  Lyrica seems more likely to lead to side effects, dependence and abuse.    It can lead to lack of coordination, loss of sexual desire, muscle cramps, dizziness, sleepiness and weight gain.  Suicidal thoughts and altered vision are not infrequent side effects.

Attempting to discontinue the drug may lead to a variety of symptoms including nausea, diarrhea, headache, anxiety and insomnia.  As a result individuals taking the drug falsely assume the it is fulfilling a need and continue therapy.

Unfortunately America and New Zealand allow direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription medicine.  Drug companies spare no expense to bring their wares to a public shielded by third party payers from the true price tag associated with the drug.  You can rightly assume inexpensive drugs fail to appear in television advertisements.

Pfizer, the manufacturer of Lyrica, spends hundreds of millions of dollars to advertise their product.  Obviously their bias stands out.  At the present time the compound accounts for as much as 10% of the company’s total revenue.  Patent protection will be lost in the near future which will create havoc within corporate ranks.

Lyrica’s price bears no relationship to its true cost.  Actually the drug was developed by a chemistry professor at a major Chicago university.  So much for the research costs as an explanation for the daily cost that may exceed $16 for a cash paying patient.

 

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