Lyrica, in theory, could potentially be a great medication for migraines. Im new, I currently have a degree in neuroscience and psychology and am going to be attending graduate school most likely for behavior pharmacology. In other threads ive read, alot of people complain about
several things. I guess ill try to hit a few main points.
1. I personally have been prescibed Lyrica. The drug is not a narcotic and will not get one high. Those with tendencies towards alcoholism and sedative/hypnotic abuse could abuse the drug due to its sedative nature. But as far as analgesia, the drug is not an opiate or sedative. Its structure is similiar to the bodies own natural inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA. However, it works through a mechanism much differently than other drugs. It binds to receptors that prevent the release of certain other neurotransmitters that can potentially cause migraines, and it is a type of anti-epileptic drug so it relaxes muscles which helps prevent tension headaches. While it does work wonders, stopping the use of the drug myself has shown me that for a day or two, I can experience weakness and extreme fatigue. Abruptly stopping it at high dosages can potentially cause a seizure. So be careful with how one handles the drug, but its potential for pain relief is great. The relief can be felt within a week or longer. It may take time and life changes such as avoiding MSG, getting a loved one to give you a massage and especially focus on the part of your neck/head where there is an indentation and one can grow a rat tail in the area. Ive found significant relief in this, lyrica, and several other things I will mention.
2. The use of opiates decreases your own body's ability to kill pain. Also, stopping the use of opiates can increase levels of norepinephrine which could potentially cause a headache in itself. However, if there is a serious organic condition that causes the pain or injury, use is warranted and chronic use does not make one an addict. However, the use for migraines will render other medications less effective since one will in fact be trying to find something that kills the pain as well as an opiate. Opiates work within your bodies natural system and are amazing pain killers. However, the use of the drugs can cause other pain relief methods to seem ineffective due to one's expectation of what pain relief should feel like. While the pain may be gone for the most part, other medications do not dissociate one from the pain like opiates, and one is still aware of some of the pain that would otherwise be gone through disassociation through the mechanism of action of the opiates. Therefore, the use of opiates can make conditions much worse unfortunately for those who suffer from chronic migraines. There are other alternative treatments that I can and will discuss.
3. Benzodiazepines such as valium and xanax are a very safe class of drugs. While the potential for physical dependence can occur, if a doctor prescribes them to you, and you are supervised, your risk of increasing your dosage or using it incorrectly will be significantly less likely and you will find that this class of medications is very effective in the treatment of anxiety disorders. They are very effective at reducing anxiety, causing muscle relaxation, and most can increase appetite. Unfortunately, there is a stigma against them due to those who abuse because of undiagnosed mental disorders, trying to sleep from the use of stimulants and so on. For the most part, the starting dosages are very low and the safety and efficiency of the drugs has been shown. What a proper dosage is for you is for you and a doctor, but I am on extended release xanax. While I do not know the root of my headaches, they come when I eat and I lose significant amounts of weight. I found the most relief from clonazepam. However, this is just luck that pain is killed with a drug intended for my severe anxiety. The use of these drugs for pain relief is not recommended.
4. Fiorinal is a medication containing a barbituate, which is a similar class of drugs to benzos, but they tend to have a more general CNS depressant effect and their effective dosage is often close to their lethal dosage. This should not deter someone from use however. If you have been honest with your doctor about your history such as prior alcohol abuse, then there is a great chance that with a doctors supervision, the drug can be effective at relieving symptoms at the moment. However, the drug should be used sparingly due to the fact that it is a drug meant for temporary, not chronic, relief of pain. Other drugs should be used for chronic relief.
5. Kava-kava has alot of varying research on the internet. However, I am in the works of making a publication about the effects of kava on test-anxiety. I consider myself an expert on the topic. Kava is an herb that has characteristics similar to that of benzodiazepines, without affecting those receptors. Kava is neither physically nor psychologically addictive. It can relieve pain through muscle relaxation, having a calming affect on ones nervous system, can help one sleep in higher dosages and get a better nights rest, and can also help kill pain through the same mechanism as prescription NSAID drugs without the side-effects. In therapeutic dosages, it has been shown to have a positive effect on cognition and is a great alternative to other treatments esp those that are costly, chronic, and require prescriptions. Its inexpensive, the world health organization and others have shown that kava is safe as lost as one buys extracts only containing the roots and not the plants, and an extract that has been water extracted. Or avoid that and just buy whole root that is grounded up. Check with a doctor first esp if you have liver, heart, or kidney problems and are taking other medications particuraly migraine medications, minor and major tranquilizers, narcotic pain meds, sedatives, or epilepsy medications.
Anything else, just ask. I hope I articulated well enough and answered some questions I keep seeing.