News

Shepparton locals concerned risky pain med Lyrica is being handed out “like candy”

By Charmayne Allison

As part of our research into the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme’s top pain medication Lyrica, we asked you to share your experiences with the drug.

A Facebook post from the News calling for Shepparton locals to share their Lyrica stories received an overwhelming response, with more than 250 comments.

Responses were hugely divided, with some praising the drug for offering instant pain relief without any side-effects, while others furiously condemned it.

Brenton Leigh Bachelor was quick to praise the drug.

“I must be one of the only ones where it's been the best thing ever,” he said.

“My dosage has come right down as the pain has gotten easier to deal with. And with the right depression meds that were needed for other problems, I've been fine enough.”

A message echoed by Elaine Lenon.

“I have been taking Lyrica for several years for severe osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia. I have found it excellent and it has helped me get back to golf and be more active,” she said.

Jo Teklenburg, who was prescribed the drug after major surgery, said it was “awful stuff” that made her feel like she “was in a constant brain fade”.

“I stopped taking it suddenly and had thoughts about driving my car into a tree … scary stuff. It needs to be heavily monitored,” she said.

Danni Talarico was prescribed Lyrica after surgery but decided not to take the drug after reading about the side-effects.

“Seems they are handing it out like candy,” she said.

After three years on the pain medication, Cori Clarke weaned herself off it but said her memory may never be the same.

“Please look into what this drug really is and does. I don't think it should be prescribed anymore until they start telling the masses what effect this drug has on your brain long-term,” she said.

Suffering nerve pain, Chrissy Phillips’ experience was mixed.

“It worked and also no migraines while on it, my depression and anxiety was actually better on it but (I) had to stop taking, as weight gain on it was uncontrollable,” she said.

Lisa Bernadette said the question should be: “Why are GPs prescribing it as a blanket treatment without a proper individual assessment and monitoring of side-effects?”

While Barbara Petersen, who is currently on Lyrica and said it offered a “manageable” level of pain relief each day, said comments should be taken as individual experiences.

“Each person has a different level of pain … You cannot condemn this medication, as some have done here, on your own experiences only,” she said.

● If you or someone you know needs help now, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636. If it becomes a crisis go immediately to the nearest hospital or phone 000.