Respite – at last!
It was 2012. I was working full time now. I finally had my diagnosis. Gangnam style was in the charts. I know, doesn\'t seem like 5 years ago does it? Everything was going to be fine, RIGHT?
My rheumatologist suggested starting lyrica (pregabalin) which was initially developed as an anticonvulsant for epilepsy but was found to be effective for neuropathic pain (nerve pain). 75mg was the starting dose, with advice to titrate up to 300mg in divided doses if necessary. (See treatments page for details of this drug). I was happy to start, by this time I would have taken anything I was told to.
Initially I had good results, a few undesirable side effects but they disappeared after a week or so, but I finally had respite from some of the pains. Taking these with the co-codamol seemed to work well together. unfortunately the relief did not last very long, so the dose was increased, then increased again each time the effect subsided. It went on like this for about 2 years until I was on 100mg in the morning and 200mg at night. I couldn\'t take a bigger dose during the day because of the side effects. It worked fairly well giving me a few hours, which enabled me to work relatively free from pain and a good night sleep.
I would say that lyrica started working well after about 1-2 hours and the pain killing effect lasted for about 2-3 hours on the 100mg dose. The 200mg dose lasted for about 5-6 hours. They weren\'t perfect but I was glad to have periods of respite for the 1st time in over ten years.
Lyrica did not have any effect on any of my other symptoms.
As well as lyrica my rheumatologist also suggested referral back to physiotherapy. I was lucky enough to see a physio who specialised in fibromyalgia so she really understood the condition. She initially suggested acupuncture. It worked well during the treatments of which I had four, but the effect for me was not sustained once the needles were removed. ( see treatments in drop down list). She then gave me some exercise to do at home and enrolled me for hydrotherapy. (See treatment in drop down list) . I had 6 sessions. The pool and staff were lovely and my core muscles and leg muscles became much more toned. Each session left me exhausted for the day so I had to make sure I booked in the afternoon to avoid losing a day to exhaustion. I can\'t say there was any improvement in pain but it gave me a sense of well being.
She suggested aqua aerobics classes in a local pool once the hydrotherapy finished. I did as I was told and went along but the pool was so cold that it just exacerbated my symptoms and I ended up with a three day flare up, so I didn\'t go back.
In 2014 I stopped lyrica as I was no longer benefitting from them. My next trial was with Duloxetine which is an antidepressant essentially, but has been found to work well in FMS. See my next post to see how this went.