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:
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.
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.
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:
- It just had no effect
- 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!