If you have been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, there’s a pretty good chance that your doctor has at least suggested Lyrica as an option. Most of us have tried it at some point. Some find that it works really well to help relief their Fibromyalgia symptoms, others not so much. A study done in Sept 2013 evaluated the effects of Lyrica for treatment of Fibromyalgia.
This was a very small study (Kim, Lee, & Mun, 2013), just 21 patients with Fibromyalgia, compared to a control group of 11 healthy women. The patients were evaluated using a combination of several questionnaires, as well as an fMRI scan while pain-pressure is applied to the thumbnail bed. The response was pretty typical of what you’ll find anytime you ask a group of Fibromyalgia patients about their experience with Lyrica. 9 of the patients responded positively to Lyrica, of those only 7 continued through the post-treatment fMRI (with pain induction).
Results: The Fibro patients had significantly lower pain pressure threshhold under the fMRI pain induction, than the healthy control group. The pre-treatment group showed significantly higher pain pressure sensitivity. fMRI scans showed activity in the same regions for both healthy and Fibro subjects, however the Fibro group showed activation in an additional 4 areas of the brain, and the reactions in all areas were higher.
For the 7 that did the post-treatment scan the reaction was significantly lower, with their pain sensitivity scores in line with the healthy control group. The post-treatment scores for pain, sleep, and fatigue, based on the questionnaires, did not match those of the healthy group, but they were cut about in half, showing a significant improvement. The results indicate that while Lyrica works for less than half of those who try it, for those that it does help, it provides a significant improvement; however, there was one major limitation to this study in that there was no placebo group compared.
The biggest takeaway from this study is that it actually shows that Fibromyalgia may be a neurological issue, something that more and more studies seem to be indicating. It’s hopeful to think that continued research in this direction might actually find a source and a treatment.Lyrica study suggests that Fibromyalgia may be a neurological disorder
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Kim, S., Lee, Y., Lee, S., & Mun, C. (2013). Evaluation of the effectiveness of pregabalin in alleviating pain associated with fibromyalgia: using functional magnetic resonance imaging study. Plos One, 8(9), e74099. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0074099