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:

  • Gabapentin
  • Cymbalta
  • Savella
  • Gralise

Lyrica Uses

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.

Pain Related to 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 Pain

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.

Other Pain Conditions
Lyrica is also used to treat pain associated with damage from shingles and pain linked to spinal cord injuries.

Side Effects

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.

The following are common side effects of the medication:

  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation
  • Lack of focus
  • Weight gain
  • Dizziness

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.

Lyrica Alternatives

When you’re seeking treatment for complex issues like nerve pain or seizures, it’s important to realize that there is no magic bullet medication. In many cases, finding the right drug for your needs is a process of trial and error as you work with your doctor. You may need to adjust your dose or try another medication as you discover side effects. Whenever you start a new medication, it’s important to pay attention to how it affects your symptoms and whether or not it causes new or worsening side effects. 

Lyrica’s side effects can be uncomfortable if you experience severe versions. Lyrica is one option for treating nerve pain and seizures, but if it causes uncomfortable symptoms, there are several pregabalin alternatives that you may be able to try. If Lyrica doesn’t work for you, ask your doctor about the following:

Lyrica vs. Cymbalta

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:

  • Liver or kidney disease
  • Drug addiction
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Diabetes
  • Difficulty urinating
  • High blood pressure
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Blood clotting disorder
  • Epilepsy or seizures

Lyrica vs Gabapentin

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: 

  • Viral infection
  • Jerky movements
  • Irritability
  • Trouble speaking
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fever

What are Some Natural Alternatives to Lyrica?

When you’re looking for natural alternatives to Lyrica, it’s important to note that neurological pain is often difficult to treat. You may work with your doctor to find a multi-disciplinary approach to treatment that examines more than just one potential treatment path. If you have significant neurological pain or seizures, a single supplement may not be enough to address the problem effectively. However, as you work with your doctor to find a treatment plan that works for you, there are a few natural alternatives and lifestyle changes you can explore. 

Exercise

It’s a common cliche, and it may seem like exercise is recommended for every ailment. Chronic pain often causes “the cycle of pain,” which is when discomfort leads to a sedentary lifestyle that worsens pain symptoms. It may be uncomfortable to break the cycle by working through discomfort, but if your doctor clears you for exercise, it can have several benefits. Even regular light to moderate exercise can help to strengthen muscles and work out issues that may cause pain. Exercise reduces your blood pressure and increases blood flow. It can also reduce your blood sugar, which can slow down nerve damage in some people. Exercise can also prevent diseases, injuries, and issues that might cause pain from other sources on top of nerve pain.

Quit Smoking and Drinking

If you use any substance too much, you may need to examine your habits when you’re faced with chronic pain. Smoking can be particularly damaging to many areas of the body. It can also affect your blood circulation. Nicotine can narrow blood vessels and lower the amount of oxygen that’s carried through your body. Poor circulation can increase feelings of numbness and nerve pain through your body. Chronic alcohol misuse can also contribute to nerve damage. It can even cause something called alcoholic neuropathy, which is nerve damage caused by alcoholism. If you have an alcohol use disorder, you should address it quickly if you experience nerve pain or other problems related to nerve damage.

Learn to Manage Stress

Stress is known to worsen a variety of medical problems, including issues that cause nerve pain. Stress can also worsen autoimmune diseases that can contribute to nerve damage like multiple sclerosis. There are several normal activities that can help manage stress, like meditation, getting enough sleep, and creating a healthy work-life balance. You may also talk to a therapist to help identify some common sources of stress in your life and learn effective coping mechanisms to deal with them.

Vitamins

There are several vitamins that are important to your overall health and a few that can contribute to nerve health. For instance, a deficiency in Vitamin B may contribute to nerve problems. Your doctor can help identify vitamin deficiencies with a blood test, but you may have to specifically ask your doctor about certain vitamins that can contribute to nerve health or damage. Without communicating with your doctor, they may not order specific tests related to looking for vitamin deficiencies. 

Finding What Works Best

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.

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