I have a complicated relationship with Lyrica. It has vastly improved my life, but has also turned me into a forgetful, emotionally foggy person. I hate taking medication, and am well aware that oftentimes our over-medicated society is burying itself in toxic pills. But there came a point when it was either live or die, and I decided to take my chances on Lyrica rather than giving up just yet. I’m only taking 150mg per day at this point, but will likely go up on the dosage soon.
I’m sleeping 8+ hours per night for the first time in a few years. I was agonizingly scraping through life on 0-2 hours some nights, and regularly 4 hours of sleep per night.
There’s no denying my psychological connection to fibromyalgia. Pain creates anxiety, and anxiety creates pain. It’s a real bitch. Lyrica definitely whittles away at anxiety.
Initially, as in the first week or so, I had almost no pain anywhere in my body. I slept like a character in a fairytale, and would’ve slept all day if not for needing to do basic things like go to work and be a mother to my dogs.
The debilitating muscle spasms have mostly stopped. My feet no longer cramp and feel like they’re folding in half, and my lower back and quads are mostly fine. My neck range of motion is better, especially when looking up.
I’ve been on it for a little over a month now, and have only had one day of paralyzing, flu-like fatigue.
Strangely, Lyrica seems to help my body respond well to ibuprofen. I try not to take ibuprofen (or any drugs, for that matter) unless I’m really hurting bad, and for years, it was like swallowing nothing. Now, combined with Lyrica, ibuprofen seems to take the edge off the full-body soreness and aches.
Lyrica hasn’t seemed to affect my athletic ability at all. In fact, since I’m hurting so much less, I can do more and not be completely wiped out.
Alcohol usage hasn’t seemed to change the way my body reacts to Lyrica, but I only drink 1-3 beers per week.
What’s Not Good
As far as side effects, other than the forgetfulness and sometimes feeling like I’m looking at life through beer goggles, my appetite is huge. Lyrica is reported to cause weight gain, but for me, it’s just caused a major appetite increase, which of course can lead to weight gain if I don’t practice restraint. Another aspect of the reported weight gain that I suspect is this: since Lyrica cuts down anxiety, I don’t obsess over food as much as I used to, which means I eat a bit more crap now, especially when out with friends.
A lot of the pain came back after two weeks of taking Lyrica. Mainly, my neck pain and spasms have returned, although they’re definitely not as bad as they’ve been in the past.
It’s expensive. Even with insurance and a manufacturer’s discount card, I’m paying $137 for a month’s supply of Lyrica. That number should go down some once my giant prescription deductible is met.
The forgetfulness and fogginess were so bad during my first week on Lyrica that I almost burned my house down. I’d put a pot of dry kidney beans on the stove to par-boil before putting them in the slow-cooker, then immediately forgot what I was doing.
I went outside with my dogs to enjoy a day off work and read in the backyard. After awhile, I started smelling foul smoke. I peaked over the neighbors’ fences to make sure their houses were okay. It wasn’t until I turned and saw white smoke pouring from the doorframe of my own house that I realized what was going on—sort of. Even then, I assumed it was an electrical fire. I ran into the house, fully intending to shut down the circuit breakers and see if the fire was something a household extinguisher could handle. It wasn’t until I saw the pot on the stove billowing smoke that I remembered it. FYI, extremely scorched kidney beans smell worse than a porta-potty. And no, the irony of a drug saving my life and almost killing me in the same week is definitely not lost in my fogginess.