So, you’ve been told you have neuropathy, nerve pain or restless legs (all three can affect your feet and legs), and you may have been prescribed Lyrica. Lyrica is from a class of drugs that are antiseizure medications. It has been FDA approved to treat nerve pain, or more specifically neuropathy. Many patients I see have had negative experiences taking this medication.

I recently saw another patient and heard yet another story of the dramatic weight gain she experienced because of Lyrica. She is not taking the medication now, but is stuck her with 50 pounds of weight!  She is patient number four from this year who has that amount of weight she now has to carry around (I should note that the average weight gain is thought to be 10 -15 pounds).

When one of my research assistants was asked to help me assess its true effectiveness for a book I’m writing he was shocked at how little research there is to show its effectiveness. I’m not here to argue that it doesn’t help as I’ve had people tell me that it has been effective. What I will say is its effectiveness is questionable, and the complication it can cause with weight gain can be out right scary.

Here are the stories I hear from my patients organized in three groups:

  1. The “just say no” group:

These folks are very anti-drug, and in most cases I can agree with these sentiments. We are a very over drugged society and if you watch TV it seems like every other commercial is about a drug. These patients are very concerned about the side effects of any drug, not just Lyrica.

  1. The “I’m stuck with this drug” group:

This group has felt relief with the medication, but are often desperately seeking other options to get off it. These are the folks that have heard about our nerve decompression procedures to reverse their nerve symptoms and want to learn more, or are interested in our non-drug technologies that can help their nerve issues. It’s a love-hate thing with Lyrica:  the drug helps but they pay the price with the side effects.

  1. The “Been there done that” group:

These patients usually were in very severe pain and decided to give it a try, but they quit. Why? For two reasons:

  1. It just had no effect
  2. They could not stand the side effects! The side effects are usually drowsiness or feeling very dopey or spacey. They just didn’t feel mentally as sharp. And, of course, the weight gain!

You might be asking yourself, shouldn’t there be another group? And you are right, there should be. That would be the, “I take the drug, it’s awesome and I have no side effects!” Sadly, from my experience, this is the smallest group, and I seldom hear about it.

So, the message is that if you’re suffering from neuropathy or restless leg type symptoms start asking the more difficult question: what other options do I have? Is it worth the risk of potential weight gain, high blood pressure, diabetes or worsening of your diabetes, cancer, and arthritic joints?

Start looking behind another door, a door of hope. Consider shutting the door of drug treatment and learn about ways to make your nerve pain a memory!

  1. October 13, 2018

    I would like to know what options there are to taking Lyrica. I’ve gained 15 lbs. in two months and seem to be gaining a lb. a day. I take 100mg. twice a day. I have diabetic neuropathy in my feet. Not a diabetic at this time. I have had this for at last 6 years. Tried Laser, suction, marijuana, have had two Botox treatments, seem to help. Lyrica causes, jabbing, stinging pain. I am 78 years old. Would like to know what else is out there, don’t like taking medication.

  2. January 8, 2019

    It’s 3am & I’m looking up articles related to extreme weight gain & Lyrica. I will be 38 next week & am no longer on Lyrica thanks to a hospital Dr who has helped me taper off this past summer. I began Lyrica around this time in 2016. Within 1 yr of taking it & building up the dose to 300mg 2xs/day, I had gained 100 lbs. It helped my symptoms some but it did not by any means make them stop altogether. Nor did it keep them from occurring daily. I was being treated for Chronic Daily Migraine; which I still have BTW.

  3. October 25, 2020

    I was diagnosed with Restless Leg Syndrome by a Psychiatrist I had seen 3 years, who took over for my first – who had sold his practice to a hospital.

    I decide to consult with a sleep neurologist in Burbank and try a different approach. There is no treatment the neurologist has offered for RLS, nor have they commented upon the Lyrica my Provider prescribed for me, after reading a 2013 Annal of European Medicine on treatment of a Primary Insomnia patient.

    RLS is not treatable as a neuropathy as far as I knowl

    I do however find any new information helpful.

    Thank you

    • November 5, 2020

      Jace, Sounds like your searching for different options . So I have another option for you to consider. I’m a peripheral nerve surgeon who has been reversing the symptoms of Restless Legs Syndrome surgically for several years. I also have one peer reviewed research paper and a second one soon to be published. The concept is simply that nerve pathways in your legs have nerve tunnels that your nerves pass through , much like carpel tunnel in the hand. By removing the compression on the nerves the symtoms can be greatly impoved or eliminated. I also have an Amazon best seller book A Perfect Nights Sleep which explains how the concept was discover and why it works . .We frequently have patients that travel here from out of state . Our staff can contact you to do a screening consultation. I then can do a virtual consultation if you are insterested.

  4. October 28, 2020

    I started Lyrica 7 weeks ago and weighed 63kg. I now weigh 88.9kg and I am swollen up like a beach ball.
    I have Scheuermann’s Disease of my spine and have been in pain since I was 12 so this medication was a Godsend as it has really helped.
    Feeling sad that I have to stop taking Lyrica😪

    • November 5, 2020

      Cathy, Sorry to hear about your weight gain. I’ve seen this with multiple patients. Most people can lose the weight once they get off the medication. It’s a long ways from New Zealand to the U.S. as I’d like to be able to help you.

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