If you suffer from a chronic inflammatory condition, such as diabetes or fibromyalgia, chances are you may be familiar with Lyrica. While Lyrica isn’t a cure for fibromyalgia and nerve and muscle pain, it has proven helpful in treating the symptoms associated with such conditions. Talk with your provider and read below to explore whether or not Lyrica is right for you.
Lyrica is a brand-name GABA analogue drug manufactured by Pfizer. It works both as an anticonvulsant to prevent seizures and as an analgesic to treat pain. In 2004, Lyrica was initially only approved as an anticonvulsant to treat partial-onset seizures in adults with epilepsy, in conjunction with other medications.
In 2012, the FDA approved the medication as a neuropathic pain agent to treat fibromyalgia and nerve pain related to spinal cord injuries. Today, Lyrica is now prescribed broadly as a pain reliever to treat chronic nerve and muscle pain from various conditions such as diabetes and shingles.
Lyrica works to treat nerve pain by changing and improving how neurotransmitters communicate with each other. By interfering with the pain signals that travel through the brain and down the spine, Lyrica helps to block muscle and nerve pain. This decreases the number of nerve signals sent out by damaged nerve cells by calming down some of the overly sensitive nerve cells. Doing this helps to alleviate some of the nerve pain associated with the conditions that Lyrica treats.
Alternatively, as an epilepsy treatment, it is believed to stop seizures by cutting down some of the brain’s abnormal electrical activity that can trigger seizures.
You can take Lyrica with or without food, either as an oral capsule or oral suspension. It’s best to spread your doses evenly throughout the day, taking it at intervals two to three times throughout the day. Dosing varies between 150 mg and 600 mg per day. If you’re taking capsules, swallow them whole with water or juice. Do not chew them.
If you take Lyrica as a liquid, 2.5 ml is usually equivalent to a single 50 mg capsule. You’ll need to measure your dose with a precise syringe, spoon, or medicine cup that will come with your medication. Don’t use kitchen utensils to measure your dose because it won’t be accurate.
Most likely, your doctor will start you on a low dose of Lyrica and gradually increase your dose over the first few days to minimize the potential for side effects. You may have to try several different dosages before you settle at the right dosage.
Once you find an amount that works, it will usually stay consistent. Patients with epilepsy often continue taking Lyrica for many years. If you take Lyrica to alleviate nerve pain or anxiety, you may take Lyrica for several months even after symptoms improve to keep them from coming back.
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