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Old 02-19-2008, 07:40 PM   #1
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Any recommended alternatives to Lyrica?

Hi,

I have a myriad of health problems, the most recent being excruciating pain from a pinched nerve--the MRI shows something floating, but the doctor is not sure if it's a broken-off piece of disk or a benign tumor. For treatment, I have had two courses of oral steroids, three cervical steroid injections, and, since December, have been on Lyrica. I am now on two doses daily, each 150 mg. I have gained a great deal of weight, and am now noticing swelling in my feet and lower legs. How much of it is due to my weight (I was already overweight and now it's worse), I'm not sure.

So, the question is, does anyone have anything they can recommend as an alternative to Lyrica? My other health issues include chronic insomnia, restless legs syndrome, fibromyalgia, and sleep apnea. For the insomnia, I take Ambien CR and Promethazine (Phenergan), for the RLS I take Mirapex, and of course I am on CPAP for the apnea. I have also just received an RX for Celebrex for my fibro pain, since I hate to take too many Aleves....

It has been a long saga to get where I am today...I was relatively "normal," working, raising a family, etc., then suddenly stopped sleeping. I know now it was due to stress, but the sleep doctor I went to for many years "treated" the insomnia and helped bring on other issues since I gained so much weight from what I was taking for the insomnia. I have tried Medifast to lose weight (600 calories a day) and worked out 7 days a week, but the weight just wouldn't come off. I never stop trying to find solutions that will help me, but it's been hard...I've been struggling for 15 years now. The impact on my family and my life has been profound. I can no longer work, have to deal daily with pain, unstable sleep and, well, you know the drill.

Sorry for such a long post--I'm new here, and didn't know how much info would be appropriate when asking for advicel

Thanks for the great information--I hope I can help out in the future by sharing some of my experiences.

 
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Old 02-19-2008, 08:35 PM   #2
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Re: Any recommended alternatives to Lyrica?

Are you taking the Lyrica for the nerve pain from the pinched nerve? If so, there are two other medications that treat nerve pain, they are Neurontin and Topamax. I take Neurontin for nerve pain and haven't experience any weight gain from it and I been on it for 4 years now. I heard that Topamax is good for nerve pain and actually causes people to lose weight. So maybe you could try one of these medications to help with the nerve pain.
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Old 02-19-2008, 09:42 PM   #3
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Re: Any recommended alternatives to Lyrica?

Hey Texmom,

I don't have Fibro, but I do have Chronic Myofascial Pain. They have some similar symptoms and are often confused for one another. I never had any luck with nsaids or the Cox-2 inhibitors (vioxx, celebrex) One of the things that our conditions have in common is the trigger point. This generally means that any part of the body, ie. muscle, tissue, bone/joint, can be causing pain at any time. I can really sympothize with you about the profound effect on your life. I can't work, exercise, lift anything even remotely heavy and have not had a night of uninterupted sleep in years. I see a PM doc for treatment and have been very lucky to have found him. He was the first person to listen to me, thoroughly and then tell me what was wrong with me. All the other docs I saw up to that time made me feel like I was crazy. My PCP suggested Lyrica when I was there for another reason and I spoke with my PM about it the next time I saw him. I've been on other narcotic pain meds for a long time and was curious. He told me that Lyrica has been known to have some pretty heavy duty side effects and that I was much better off taking my current meds. (Oxycontin - Long Acting, Vicodin - for breakthrough pain, and Soma - Muscle Relaxer) I have to say that while I know that I'm never going to be pain free, my quality of life has improved to the point where I can take care of my home and family (with a little help from my very supportive hubby) and I can at least occasionally travel and go out with friends etc. I've just learned over time that I have to take it easy before and after I do these things. I know there are a lot of people who think that narcotics are dangerous in any situation, but as you will see in these boards, they have given so many people a chance to live the best lives they can. Sorry for the ramble. I hope something helped. cmpgirl

 
Old 02-19-2008, 11:13 PM   #4
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Re: Any recommended alternatives to Lyrica?

I switched from Neurontin to Lyrica to Topamax. The Topamax actually has a side effect of weight loss. Not much but at least no swelling. The swelling was killing me. I take a bunch of other meds. I also have Obstructive Sleep Apnea among other things. The meds don't interact. Maybe mention to your doctor. He would know what would work together. I would wake up in the morning and not even be able to open my hands because of the swelling. All my joints hurt. I was only on Topamax a short time when my stomach problems happened so I stopped taking that and the Skelaxin because everything causes nausea. Now that I am starting to eat a little I am starting them again.

 
Old 02-20-2008, 07:42 AM   #5
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Re: Any recommended alternatives to Lyrica?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rayefaye View Post
Are you taking the Lyrica for the nerve pain from the pinched nerve? If so, there are two other medications that treat nerve pain, they are Neurontin and Topamax. I take Neurontin for nerve pain and haven't experience any weight gain from it and I been on it for 4 years now. I heard that Topamax is good for nerve pain and actually causes people to lose weight. So maybe you could try one of these medications to help with the nerve pain.
I am taking the Lyrica for the nerve pain, and while I am certain it is helping with the pain, the weight gain and swelling have me very concerned. I have never tried Neurontin, but was on Topamax for a while prior to the nerve pain since it helped some people with sleep issues. It helped me sleep, and during my first course of taking Topamax, I did lose some weight. I weaned off of it due to the horrific cognitive impairment--I was having trouble putting words together, forgetting conversations I'd had, unable to do simple math, etc.--but decided to try it again after about an 8 month break. The weight loss did not happen with the second go-round, and I got really tired of being such a "Dope" from the "Tope," so I went off again. My sleep did adjust poorly after going off the Topamax, but it started to improve after a while. Then the nerve pain started.

I initially tried Aleve, then some leftover Vicodin, but nothing worked. The pain is not constant, but when it hits, it drops me to my knees, brings tears to my eyes and is absolutely excruciating. I was having 30-40 episodes a day at its peak. I went to a chiropractor for a while, but he told me that if he was going to help me, it would have worked within a few sessions, so he sent me on to the orthopedic surgeon. The ortho is the one who has given me all the steroids, as well as the Lyrica.

The doctor seems unconcerned about my rapid weight gain and the swelling, but I just cannot sit and watch myself deteriorate further. I don't want to be in pain, but also don't want to worsen or cause other conditions due to the side effects I am experiencing from the Lyrica. I will research the Neurontin and see if it might be a good alternative. I have to be careful of whatever I take, due to my extremely sensitive sleep problems (insomnia).... something as simple as the wrong vitamin supplement can wreak havoc with my ability to sleep.

Thanks for the info and advice, I will definitely look into it!

 
Old 02-20-2008, 07:48 AM   #6
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TexMom85 HB User
Re: Any recommended alternatives to Lyrica?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cmpgirl View Post
Hey Texmom,

I don't have Fibro, but I do have Chronic Myofascial Pain. They have some similar symptoms and are often confused for one another. I never had any luck with nsaids or the Cox-2 inhibitors (vioxx, celebrex) One of the things that our conditions have in common is the trigger point. This generally means that any part of the body, ie. muscle, tissue, bone/joint, can be causing pain at any time. I can really sympothize with you about the profound effect on your life. I can't work, exercise, lift anything even remotely heavy and have not had a night of uninterupted sleep in years. I see a PM doc for treatment and have been very lucky to have found him. He was the first person to listen to me, thoroughly and then tell me what was wrong with me. All the other docs I saw up to that time made me feel like I was crazy. My PCP suggested Lyrica when I was there for another reason and I spoke with my PM about it the next time I saw him. I've been on other narcotic pain meds for a long time and was curious. He told me that Lyrica has been known to have some pretty heavy duty side effects and that I was much better off taking my current meds. (Oxycontin - Long Acting, Vicodin - for breakthrough pain, and Soma - Muscle Relaxer) I have to say that while I know that I'm never going to be pain free, my quality of life has improved to the point where I can take care of my home and family (with a little help from my very supportive hubby) and I can at least occasionally travel and go out with friends etc. I've just learned over time that I have to take it easy before and after I do these things. I know there are a lot of people who think that narcotics are dangerous in any situation, but as you will see in these boards, they have given so many people a chance to live the best lives they can. Sorry for the ramble. I hope something helped. cmpgirl
Cmpgirl,

I'm so sorry to hear about your battle with pain, but glad to hear you have been coping with it and have a great hubby like I do. It makes so much difference when you have a supportive mate!

I am not averse to any particular drug or drug class, if it is effective in helping my conditions and giving me the ability to resume activities. I have coped with being sleepy for so many years, that all my friends and family know not to call me to early in the day. They also know that some days I have to take naps, and I can't take on too much that requires physical exertion. They've also put up with me while on the Topamax and have been pretty understanding. Thank God for loved ones!

I will definitely look into some of these alternatives... I do know that some narcotics are not really helpful for nerve pain, but I am willing to try just about anything!

Hang in there and keep trying.. thanks for sharing!

 
Old 02-21-2008, 05:21 PM   #7
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Re: Any recommended alternatives to Lyrica?

I also suffer from chronic nerve pain and take Lyrica. I have not had the rapid weight gain like a lot of people that take it fortunately. One medication that has not been mentioned which is effective for nerve pain, fibro, and depression is Cymbalta. I could not take the side effects from it but many other people love it. It could be worth something to at least try. Hope you get better control of the pain.

Brian

 
Old 02-21-2008, 08:33 PM   #8
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Re: Any recommended alternatives to Lyrica?

Quote:
Originally Posted by brianpain33 View Post
I also suffer from chronic nerve pain and take Lyrica. I have not had the rapid weight gain like a lot of people that take it fortunately. One medication that has not been mentioned which is effective for nerve pain, fibro, and depression is Cymbalta. I could not take the side effects from it but many other people love it. It could be worth something to at least try. Hope you get better control of the pain.

Brian
Hi Brian,

What side effects did you experience with the Cymbalta? I really don't have depression, other than some days, when I just get so tired of it all, but it's not very frequent and certainly not defining of my overall outlook, surprisingly.

I have previously tried some antidepressants for their sedative effects in order to treat my insomnia, some of which had the opposite effect (like Paxil and Prozac). Elavil ultimately worked for many years, but I also experienced the weight gain from it (30 pounds the first month) and have been off of it for quite some time.

I am frustrated, as many are, by having to choose between living with pain or the disastrous side effects of the medications, which have led to other health issues. It's a vicious cycle, and I know many can empathize.

Thanks for sharing your experiences!

 
Old 02-23-2008, 02:11 PM   #9
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Re: Any recommended alternatives to Lyrica?

Hi

I too was on Lyrica and I itched like crazy and had blurry vision. I didn't notice any help with my symptoms in taking that med. I stopped taking it after about 3 weeks. My Pm put me on Neurontin Thursday. I started it today and already feel a difference in my nerve pain. Yeah! A bit dizzy though. My godmother has Fibro and has been on it for a few years and highly recommends Neurontin. My mother had a very bad and unusual reaction to Topomax which is the only other med for nerve pain that I have heard of so I don't plan on trying that one. We share alot of the same allergies and such so I am afraid of that one. I noticed something in the other posts about Cymbalta. I took that early last year but it made me so rock bottom depressed, I stopped taking it too. Most people tolerate it well but I was told if you get opposite affects from an antidepressant, you likely aren't depressed. I have bouts of depression, of that I have do doubt but usually get over it quickly. The constant pain can really get you down. This board has helped me more than I could have immagined and for that I am truly grateful. Good Luck !!!

 
Old 02-23-2008, 03:31 PM   #10
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TexMom85 HB User
Re: Any recommended alternatives to Lyrica?

llincoln,

Thanks for the info. I will ask my doctor about Neurontin and see if that might be better for me than the Lyrica. I could play linebacker for the NFL at my current weight, and I'm sure not happy about it. It is better than dealing with pain, but I can't keep gaining weight... it brings on too many other issues.

I tried Topamax and it does make me loopy, and I was starting to notice vision changes, so that one is a definite no-go for me. I think it was giving me depression, as well, so I am leery of trying Cymbalta for that very reason.

I'll post my experiences soon! Thanks to everyone for the advice and experiences, I really appreciate it!

 
Old 02-23-2008, 06:41 PM   #11
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Re: Any recommended alternatives to Lyrica?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TexMom85 View Post
Hi Brian,

What side effects did you experience with the Cymbalta?

Well, like someone else said it was making my depression worse. I am bi-polar so anything that makes my depression worse plus I was having anger and rage problems when I started taking it. I am normally not like that unless I am not on my bi-polar meds. Luckily I realized that I could not take that one. However, many people on here have alot of success witht the Cymbalta. Don't think of it just as an anti-depressant. Just like Ultram affects serotonin and norepinephine along with helping nerve pain. You should think of the medication like that. Of couse if they said that Ultram was an anti-depressant then many people with pain probably would not take it. It just happens to possess anti-depressant effects. Hope that helps.

brian

 
Old 02-24-2010, 07:50 AM   #12
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Re: Any recommended alternatives to Lyrica?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TexMom85 View Post
Hi,

I have a myriad of health problems, the most recent being excruciating pain from a pinched nerve--the MRI shows something floating, but the doctor is not sure if it's a broken-off piece of disk or a benign tumor. For treatment, I have had two courses of oral steroids, three cervical steroid injections, and, since December, have been on Lyrica. I am now on two doses daily, each 150 mg. I have gained a great deal of weight, and am now noticing swelling in my feet and lower legs. How much of it is due to my weight (I was already overweight and now it's worse), I'm not sure.

So, the question is, does anyone have anything they can recommend as an alternative to Lyrica? My other health issues include chronic insomnia, restless legs syndrome, fibromyalgia, and sleep apnea. For the insomnia, I take Ambien CR and Promethazine (Phenergan), for the RLS I take Mirapex, and of course I am on CPAP for the apnea. I have also just received an RX for Celebrex for my fibro pain, since I hate to take too many Aleves....

It has been a long saga to get where I am today...I was relatively "normal," working, raising a family, etc., then suddenly stopped sleeping. I know now it was due to stress, but the sleep doctor I went to for many years "treated" the insomnia and helped bring on other issues since I gained so much weight from what I was taking for the insomnia. I have tried Medifast to lose weight (600 calories a day) and worked out 7 days a week, but the weight just wouldn't come off. I never stop trying to find solutions that will help me, but it's been hard...I've been struggling for 15 years now. The impact on my family and my life has been profound. I can no longer work, have to deal daily with pain, unstable sleep and, well, you know the drill.

Sorry for such a long post--I'm new here, and didn't know how much info would be appropriate when asking for advicel

Thanks for the great information--I hope I can help out in the future by sharing some of my experiences.

 
Old 02-24-2010, 07:51 AM   #13
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Re: Any recommended alternatives to Lyrica?

The same thing happened to me and my doctor took me off of Lyrica and put me on Topamax and so far so good. i gained about 30 lbs. good luck to you.

 
Old 02-24-2010, 10:48 AM   #14
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Re: Any recommended alternatives to Lyrica?

I personally don't have any experience with fibromyalgia but my dad does. He has been suffering from similar symptoms as you and has been on Lyrica for a year and a half. But recently he has been taking a health supplement called Fibromya with his medication to help with the pains. After a week of taking Fibromya he had more energy, less body pains, and more sleep. Now he is into health supplements that work with his medications. Hope this little info helps you.

 
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