Like all medications, they can carry certain risks. “The drug with no side effects is only in our imagination,” says Eduardo Fraifeld, MD, president of the American Academy of Pain Medicine.
In the clinical trials for Lyrica, the first drug approved specifically for fibro by the FDA, 31% of the patients who took the drug experienced dizziness (compared with 9% of those who took a placebo).
“I always tell (patients) to be careful driving, operating equipment, climbing up and down ladders, riding a bicycle—anything that involves balance,” says Dr. Fraifeld.
An upset stomach is one of the most common side effects of both Cymbalta and Savella, says Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, the medical director of the Fibromyalgia and Fatigue Centers, a nationwide chain of treatment centers.
About 20% of Cymbalta users, and roughly 25% of Savella users, stop taking their medication because of nausea and other adverse reactions, he says.
Nausea is a less common side effect for people using Lyrica.
An antiseizure medication called gabapentin (brand name Neurontin) is often prescribed off-label as an alternative to these drugs, Dr. Teitelbaum says because it’s cheaper, effective, and less likely to cause swelling (as well as the weight gain experienced by some Lyrica users).
Painkillers stimulate chemicals in the brain that decrease brain activity, says Dr. Teitelbaum. As a result, these drugs can cause some sedation.
For some people, drowsiness can be a plus, he says. Since many people with fibromyalgia have trouble sleeping, taking drugs with a sedating effect may actually be helpful.
Dry mouth might not sound like a big deal, but it can cause cavities and even require people to have their teeth removed, says Dr. Teitelbaum.
He suggests sucking on sugar-free candy or chewing sugar-free gum to help stimulate saliva production. If you experience dry mouth, you may also want to discuss lowering your medication dose with your doctor.
People with fibromyalgia may have other health problems as well, and about 70% take more than one medication regularly.
Often, says Dr. Teitelbaum, fibro patients are taking multiple medications that raise the brain chemical called serotonin.
SNRIs raise blood pressure in many people who take the drugs, so patients should be screened regularly for hypertension.
Most antiseizure and antidepressant drugs carry a warning about suicide, and fibro drugs fall in this category: Lyrica is an anticonvulsant also used to treat seizures, Cymbalta is approved for the treatment of depression and anxiety, and Savella is related to antidepressants.
Patients and family members should watch for worsening depression or unusual mood changes.
“Lyrica is chemically related to medications that stimulate your body’s natural Valium, a brain chemical called GABA,” says Dr. Teitelbaum. “Because of that, it contributes to a little lack of mental clarity.”
The cognitive cloudiness known as fibro fog is common even in fibromyalgia patients who aren’t taking medication, so if you feel that you are growing increasingly confused after you start taking a drug, discuss it with your doctor.
It may or may not be related to your medication.
Lyrica—but not Cymbalta or Savella—has been shown to foster weight gain. For most people, only doses higher than 300 milligrams a day will cause them to pack on a few extra pounds, says Dr. Teitelbaum.
Even a few pounds can be significant, however, since weight gain is a common problem in fibromyalgia, to begin with. “The average weight gain in fibromyalgia is 32.5 pounds,” says Dr. Teitelbaum. “Adding more weight gain in a disease that most often affects women really lowers their self-images.”
For More Information Related Fibromyalgia Visit below sites:
Fibromyalgia Contact Us Directly
Fibro Women Blogs
Chronic Woman Blogs
Chronic Illness Blogs
Official Fibromyalgia Blogs