I've been on Lyrica since February, along with some other meds to try to control my pains. It is used for neuropathies and as part of seizure treatments, oh and it's also used for firbromyalgia. The way it works is, it lowers the number of electrical signals in damaged nerves. It is not any kind of arthritis treatment, though. Usually for arthritis, one would try some sort of anti-inflammatories first. Did your doc say it would also treat your arthritis? It might only help if your arthritis is causing nerve compression somewhere...
I took b/c I have alot of nerve pain, though I'm not sure of what is causing it all. I know I have some from my lumbar spine, but I also get nerve pains and paresthesias in my upper body. It is more of a long term drug, though I don't know what the long term effects might be.
It definitely helps me, though I still get nerve pains & problems but not usually constantly, and it's lessened the pain and frequency of it. The most common side effects are dizziness, dry mouth, weight gain, sleepiness, edema of the extremeties, and problems concentrating. I did have some of these, but they lessened or went away over time. I had weight gain, edema, and concentration problems. I did not get dizzy, per se, but I did feel strange. It affected my brain focusing....it was as if something in my brain shifted or got switched to a lower focusing capacity. The best thing for me, though, which is weird.....is I usually have a dry mouth anyway. Since taking Lyrica, it actually helps my dry mouth! I just had a period of almost a week where I couldnt take it (could no longer afford it and had to wait for prescription assistance). THat was no fun, then I really knew that Lyrica was helping me b/c my nerve problems were getting worse, my mouth became so dry it was awful, and I started feeling ill. I probably felt ill b/c I had suddenly stopped it. Now i've noticed the edema I had in my feet and hands seems to have pretty much gone away.
All in all, for myself, this med helps me alot and the side effects lessen over time. I haven't noticed any other problems from it now.