Lyrica is prescribed to treat pain related to nerve damage that is associated with various conditions, such as diabetes, shingles, and spinal injuries.
Some alternatives to Lyrica include:
Lyrica became one of the answers to the rising issue of neurological problems and associated pain. It debuted as an FDA-approved medical treatment for fibromyalgia. Since then, it has been applied as a treatment for many different nerve-based issues.
It is important to note that Lyrica is not an antidepressant drug like other treatments for fibromyalgia. Lyrica works by targeting nerve signals themselves. As such, it is a useful drug for combating nerve pain suffered by those with shingles and diabetes.
According to a 2015 report conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 100 million people in the United States are believed to be suffering from diabetes or prediabetes.
The report found that an astounding 9.4 percent of Americans suffer from diabetes. That is 30.3 million Americans. It was also found that 84 million Americans have prediabetes, which is a condition that, if not treated properly, can be expected to evolve into type 2 diabetes in as little as five years.
This report also found that diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in America at the time of the report. These numbers represent a significant health issue for the American people. Diabetes can be a painful disease, as it can cause damage to nerves that are responsible for sensing pain.
Neuropathy brought on by diabetes is a fairly common occurrence, and it can be a very painful condition.
Lyrica calms the pain associated with nerve damage from diabetes.
Fibromyalgia is signified by muscle and bone pain. While the condition may also cause fatigue, insomnia, and mood swings, pain is the primary symptom.
There is no known cause of fibromyalgia, but many contributing factors have been identified. There is a genetic link, and infections or trauma can trigger the disorder.
The disorder essentially causes brain changes that signal pain. The brain also becomes more sensitive to pain, so the pain associated with fibromyalgia can be very intense.
While it is not fully known how Lyrica works to reduce nerve pain, it is believed that it calms overactive nerves, helping to reduce the experience of pain.
Lyrica is also used to treat pain associated with damage from shingles and pain linked to spinal cord injuries.
Every drug comes with the potential for some side effects. It is important to look at the risks as well as the benefits of taking Lyrica.
Fatigue and dizziness are the most common side effects, and they generally dissipate after one to 10 weeks of taking the medication regularly. If the side effects are prominent, talk to your doctor about alternatives to Lyrica.
In rare cases, Lyrica may cause a life-threatening allergic reaction. If you experience hives, blisters, difficulty breathing, or swelling of the face, throat, or tongue, contact your doctor immediately or dial 911.
Sometimes, a specific drug is not the right fit. Due to side effects, Lyrica might not work well for you. If this is the case, you have some alternatives to choose from.
A selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI), Cymbalta is an antidepressant that is primarily used to treat major depressive disorder and general anxiety disorder.
Cymbalta’s medical characteristics also allow it to treat fibromyalgia and nerve damage associated with diabetes, making it a well-established Lyrica alternative.
While Cymbalta can be used to treat the same issues as Lyrica, the drugs work quite differently.
Lyrica is an anticonvulsant, while Cymbalta is an antidepressant.
Generally, Lyrica is viewed as more effective for treating nerve-related pain. Sometimes, the drugs are used in combination.
Cymbalta should not be used if you have an allergy to duloxetine. It also should not be taken within one to two weeks of using an MAO inhibitor, as a dangerous reaction can occur.
Like Lyrica, Cymbalta must be prescribed by a doctor and should be taken exactly as directed, most commonly in tablet form.
It is important to tell your doctor if you have suffered from any of these conditions before going on Cymbalta:
This is an oral capsule that is available as both a generic and brand-name drug. Brands include Neurontin, Gralise, and Horizant. It comes in immediate-release and time-release capsules.
Gabapentin is used to treat partial seizures as well as nerve pain typically caused by shingles infection. As a result, it may be used as an alternative to Lyrica.
Gabapentin is often used as part of a combination therapy, which means you may take it with other drugs.
For damaged nerves, the drug seems to prevent an increase in sensitivity to pain that usually accompanies the disorder.
It is also used to reduce seizures. It is believed it changes the way the body reacts to calcium, as low calcium can aggravate and encourage seizures.
Gabapentin is a relatively safe and established alternative to Lyrica, particularly if Lyrica’s side effects are too severe for you. It does come with the potential for its own side effects. These include the following:
If you suffer from pain related to damaged nerves, it can be debilitating. While Lyrica may work well to reduce this pain for many people, it is not effective for everyone.
If Lyrica doesn’t work well for you, talk to your doctor about alternatives like Cymbalta or gabapentin. Though they come with their own side effects, they may work better for your body. The process of finding what works best for you may involve some trial and error.
(2015) New CDC report: More than 100 million Americans have diabetes or prediabetes. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved February 2019 from https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2017/p0718-diabetes-report.html
(2016) What Is Lyrica? WebMD. Retrieved February 2019 from https://www.webmd.com/fibromyalgia/qa/what-is-lyrica
(2019) Cymbalta. Drugs.com. Retrieved February 2019 from https://www.drugs.com/cymbalta.html
(2016) Gabapentin: Side Effects, Dosage, Uses, and More. Healthline. Retrieved February 2019 from https://www.healthline.com/health/gabapentin-oral-capsule