Side effects with Lyrica tend to be minimal and reversible with discontinuation. In my experience, sedation is the biggest one (most of the people with chronic pain have been gaining weight before they even started the drug!). It also has no significant drug interactions.
However, it is only moderately effective. It tends to work best with radicular pains (such as shingles). It is only about twice as effective as placebo (but even placebos are better than narcotics for chronic non-cancer pain!). It has about the same effectiveness as gabapentin (which is available generically so this tends to be better insurance coverage). Products which are more effective for non-radicular chronic pain are tricyclics, depakote, and carbemazepine (the last of which is even on the Wal-Mart $4 list).
Medical professionals need to do a better job at getting the word out to STOP prescribing narcotics for chronic non-cancer pain. Used for chronic pain, narcotics have been shown to INCREASE pain, lower overall quality of life, and decrease the likelihood of return to work.
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