The Risks of Lyrica
There’s no shortage of available medicines and drugs to help ease pain. Painkillers have many different forms such as opioids, anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroids, acetaminophen, and muscle relaxants. Of those, usually the most common pain-killing drugs prescribed and distributed are opioids. However, there is another medication available by prescription that’s riskier than people realize. Continue reading to learn more about the risks of Lyrica.
Opioids carry a host of problems on their own as indicated by the opioid epidemic that’s currently present in the U.S. and has been present for some time. However, what we’re here to talk about today, however, are not opioids, but actually, a drug that was marketed to be a less addictive and safer alternative to opioids.
Sadly to say, that may not always be the case. To the contrary, pregabalin, more commonly known by the brand name, Lyrica, can be just as addictive as prescription opioids and twice as deadly. Learning about the risks of Lyrica can help you avoid some of them or at least speak with your doctor about your concerns.
What is Lyrica (Pregabalin) Used For?
Before learning more about the risks of Lyrica, you may be wondering what this medication is prescribed for.
Pregabalin is primarily prescribed to treat nerve pain. It can treat specific conditions like diabetic nerve pain, spinal cord nerve pain, and whole body chronic pain (fibromyalgia). Lyrica can also aid reducing onset seizures in adults that have epilepsy who are already taking medications for seizures. How pregabalin manages to achieve these things exactly is unknown. We only know that it’s believed to calm overactive nerve signals in the body that could cause pain or provoke seizures.
So What’s the Problem with Lyrica?
Pregabalin would be a great thing if that were all it did, but of course, at this point with prescribed drugs, we know better. There isn’t a drug on the market that doesn’t include the risk of unwanted and potentially harmful side effects.
In the case of pregabalin, the bad tends to outweigh the good in some situations. The citizens of Australia probably know this to be true more than anyone else. They have seen the risks of Lyrica come to light in a significant way.
Pregabalin was first registered as a drug in Australia in 2005. But it was not until somewhere between 2012-2013 that pregabalin was marketed and made publicly available. The following year in 2014 the UK had warned their doctors to be wary and keep a watchful eye on patients prescribed pregabalin because of its addiction potential and misuse.
Interestingly enough, in 2005, the same year that pregabalin was first registered in Australia, the U.S. already had it on their controlled substance list, underscoring what they saw as the potential risks of Lyrica.
On the other hand in Australia, Lyrica is categorized as a Schedule 4 drug, meaning doctors can prescribe it freely as they see fit. As you’re about to learn, that’s much to the dismay of their patients.
Side Effects and Risks of Lyrica
Pregabalin has the standard run of the mill drug side effects such as weight gain, dizziness, and nausea. However, there are much more severe side effects and risks of Lyrica that make the drug so addictive and dangerous.
Patients who take pregabalin are at risk to develop depression and suicidal thoughts and actions. Moreover, patients who already had a record of mental issues are even more at risk yet despite this, pregabalin is still being prescribed to those patients.
Lyrica was marketed to be an alternative drug to get people off of opioids due to the opioid epidemic that has been seen in a lot of countries.
However, pregabalin has been prescribed for people to take in addition to the opioids they already had. It gets worse. Pregabalin, when taken with opioids, increases the risk of opioid overdose times 1.7 – higher dosages of pregabalin increased that by 2.5 times the risk.
Pregabalin has become such a rampant problem that it is because of the simple fact that it’s being prescribed for conditions it wasn’t even designed to treat.
A large majority of users reportedly went in for having upper and lower back pains. Pregabalin is supposed to be prescribed for neuropathic pains, pains caused by nerve damage and diabetes not issues with muscular problems.
The drug quickly substantially grew in usage between 2012 and 2014. Due to the misconception that it is a safer yet equally effective drug to take instead of an opioid, it is one of the most used drugs in Australia. Sadly for the patients who don’t suffer from any form of nerve pain at all, they’re only receiving its negative and harmful side effects and none of the proposed benefits.
Pregabalin is something akin to a trojan horse. It is marketed and sold for one specific purpose, yet is then corrupted and twisted to attempt to fit a lot of other purposes, none of which it is effective at aiding in. To those who receive this drug, they may ultimately find they’re in a much worse position than they started out in.
At the same time, for some people, the risks of Lyrica are outweighed by its benefits. If you’re worried about the potential risks of Lyrica, have a conversation with your doctor.