In June the Federal Drug Administration approved Lyrica as the first drug to treat spinal cord injury-related nerve pain. Among those who may benefit is Trudy Messanger of Sevierville, Tenn., who has battled chronic neuropathic pain since being diagnosed with cervical spinal stenosis in 2003. Lyrica has already given her some relief, she says.
Massanger’s pain began with burning in her feet but progressed in intensity until she was in constant pain. “Being in pain all the time wears on your nerves,” says Messanger, who claims it also has affected her mental efficiency. Pfizer, the drug’s manufacturer, estimates neuropathic pain occurs in 40 percent of people with SCIs.
Lyrica hasn’t completely rid Massanger of her chronic pain, but she says it has allowed her to get back to living life. She hopes the drug can help people with less severe symptoms. Massanger says she hasn’t experienced many side effects, but Pfizer warns that Lyrica can increase the risk of suicidal behavior and may cause dizziness, drowsiness, edema and blurred vision.