The Magic of Lyrica (Pregabalin)
Jon Bernardes, long term Prostatitis Sufferer, Shropshire, United Kingdom.
Diagnosed with Chronic Prostatitis in January 1994, I have lived with pain and discomfort (not to mention more usual prostate symptoms such as urgency, frequency, pain on urinating) for over 11 years. I was a previously fit and healthy middle class professional then in my mid forties. Since 1994, I had not had one single day when pain management wasn’t the over-riding issue in my life. As with many chronic pain sufferers, I managed to keep working but gave up any kind of social life, lost fitness and began to look forward to retirement just to end the daily struggle of getting to a (thankfully very flexible) job. The various management strategies involved 4 components: a regular (16 week) caudal block, acupuncture (4-6 weekly), Dothiepin (an anti-depressant which also interacts with acupuncture to relieve pain), and the main daily drug of Coproxamol – ranging from 2/3 tables on a ‘good day’ to the maximum dose of 8 on a ‘bad day’.
With the end of Coproxamol prescribing in sight in the UK, I tried a wide range of other prescription painkillers with my GP’s help – all were far less effective than Coproxamol and some had unpleasant side effects. About to panic (and very depressed) I attended my regular caudal block and discussed the issue with my Pain Consultant who suggested a new drug: Lyrica ( a.k.a Pregabalin - licensed for use on neuropathic pain in July 2004 – see European Medicines Agency: http://www.emea.eu.int/humandocs/Humans/EPAR/lyrica/lyrica.htm ; at time of writing the drug is not on UK Pfizer site but the American review can be seen at: http://www.pfizer.com/pfizer/are/investors_releases/2004pr/mn_2004_1231.jsp OR
I contacted my very helpful GP and got a prescription – so my years of pain came to an end – not simply and immediately but after some experimentation and careful management.
From the very first tablet, I realised that I had simply forgotten what life without pain could be like – initially, these were only brief periods between a range of side effects –most notably, a distinct dizziness and headaches (the latter probably due to withdrawing the Coproxamol). Initially I tried one 75Mg tablet 12 hourly….the dizziness continued and the pain began to feel like it might return after 6 hours and did return with a vengeance towards 12 hours.
Within a week, I dared to try a cycle ride in the pain free period and found that I managed a mile or two with no ill effects; I repeated this with time and found that such exercise did not seem to lead to pain crises (as it had in the past). To tackle the midday pain, I moved to 75Mg tablets 8 hourly and found this much more effective in terms of continual pain control BUT found myself in a continual haze (not unpleasant but I did not like to drive); the bike riding and exercise developed well and I began to have patches of feeling really well and pain free.
My GP then agreed to prescribe 50Mg tablets and this dose 8 hourly has removed the haze and any dizziness. After nearly three whole months, I am pain free, regularly riding my bike (6 – 9 miles a day) and have returned to my favourite exercise – Jogging. I started VERY carefully with one minute jogs but am now up to 60 minutes. My wife and I had a marvellous 2 week holiday in Crete where I swam regularly, walked miles, hiked up and down mountain gorges and generally managed like a perfectly healthy person. I am losing some weight and beginning to feel much healthier and, strangely, some of the prostate symptoms are also abating. Lyrica, however, is not a cure – if I forget a tablet for a few hours, the familiar nagging pains in perineum, lower abdomen and lower back pop-up BUT taking the tablet and relaxing for an hour or two usually solves the problem.
Strangely, I cannot find much mention of patient experiences with Lyrica on the internet and I am still not really sure what ‘neuropathic pain’ is BUT this stuff is simply magic for me and my prostatitis. So far, there are limited side effects – the dizziness seems to disappear after a while and the drug appears to ‘target’ the pain very well. A broken tooth hurt like hell despite my prostate pain being completely absent; previous painkillers (such a Coproxamol) seem to hit your whole system and mask any and all pains; Lyrica seems to just control the long term prostate pain.
I have no idea whether this drug will work for anyone else but do suggest that you talk to your GP and give it a try – be prepared, though, to take control and experiment with dose strength and period (I am on 3 * 50Mg = 150Mg daily; the maximum is 600 Mg a day so I guess there is room to manoeuvre. The drug comes in 25 mg, 50 mg, 75 mg, 100 mg, 150 mg, 200 mg, or 300 mg capsules so it should be possible for anyone to experiment with dosage until they have good pain control….BEST OF LUCK!
Time and continuing permitting, I will try and respond to any queries to Jon_Bernardes@hotmail.com but please be patient – PLEASE provide a subject line including “LYRICA”.
I would like to 2nd Mr Bernandes use of Lyrica for the treatment of chronic prostatitis. I had suffered with many symptoms and saw physician after physician, massage therapists, physical therapists to no avail. I then started a round of lyrica combined with cymbalta and within a 4-6 weeks, my pain level dropped to almost normal. I can still feel pain in my pelvis if I press on or probe the urethral area it but I am not suffering as I once did. The drugs really gave me my life back.