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Neurontin and Lyrica: Side Effects of Pfizer’s Most Dangerous Painkillers

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When it comes to medication, natural or not, you should always explore the available scientific research before putting anything in your body. Off the top of your head, can you think of any stories where friends or family have taken a medication that resulted in a series of unexpected side effects? We’ve all been there. That’s why it is so important to keep up to date with and stay on top of the latest studies and potential side effects of any medication you’ve been prescribed. If you’d like proof, just look at the major painkiller drug from Pfizer that has proved to have disastrous effects on some of its users.

Neurontin, Lyrica, and the Side Effects of Pfizer’s Popular Painkillers

Any seeker of pain relief has likely heard of a drug called gabapentin. If not, you will probably recognize its more popular brand names: Gralise, Horizant, Gabarone and, more popularly, Neurontin (the name we’ll use throughout the article).[1]

Neurontin is an anti-epileptic (i.e., anticonvulsant) drug, which doctors prescribe to help prevent and control seizures.[2] But if that’s true, you might be wondering, then why are adults taking Neurontin to help treat neuropathic (i.e., nerve) pain?

Despite being approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1994 for epilepsy, drug companies have steadily promoted Neurontin and Lyrica (or Pregabalin, a hyper-potent version of Neurontin) off-label for years.[8] ‘Off-label’ simply refers to a drug being used for a purpose other than it was approved for. Other than epilepsy, these off-label prescriptions have been for nerve pain, the most common symptom for fibromyalgia sufferers.

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The Most Common Scary Lyrica and Neurontin Side Effects

After reading this list, we’re not sure why anyone would want to continue using this drug or others like it. But here are the side effects:[2]

  • Upper stomach pain, chest pain
  • Severe tingling, numbness
  • Difficulty or pain during urination
  • Swollen feet, ankles
  • Mood swings, behavioral changes
  • Headaches, dizziness, drowsiness
  • Coordination problems
  • Memory problems
  • Anxiety, panic attacks
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Impulsive feelings
  • Irritable, agitated
  • Hostile, aggressive
  • Restless, mentally or physically hyperactive
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Depression, thoughts of self-harm or suicide

What Science Has Revealed About Neurontin and Lyrica

In a 2017 study published in the Journal of Experimental Pharmacology, researchers examined the risks and side effects of Neurontin usage. After reviewing dozens of animal studies, clinical studies and case studies, they concluded that:[3]

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“[Neurontin] can induce diverse side effects such as teratogenicity, hypoventilation, respiratory failure, deficits in visual field, myopathy, self-harm behavior, suicidal behavior, mitochondrial toxicity, somnolence, dizziness, and asthenia.”

Several years ago, a 2009 study published in the journal Cell found that both Neurontin and Lyrica are, in essence, a death sentence for new brain synapses. After observing the neurological effects of both these drugs, researchers concluded that they could drastically limit the brain’s ability to rejuvenate brain plasticity and, therefore, cause even faster rates of brain decline.[4]

Furthermore, in March 2017, scientists published a study in the Iranian Journal of Basic Medical Sciences emphasizing the frightening adverse side effects of Lyrica, the more powerful Neurontin. In this animal study, researchers found that after three weeks of Lyrica usage, pathological damage occurred – regardless of the dose. Continued use of Lyrica eventually led to muscle loss and atrophy, as well as brain shrinkage.[5,6]

Based on the very recent studies above, we must ask ourselves: What is the misuse of Neurontin and Lyrica doing to the population? Although these studies give us some insight, time is the greatest limiting factor. But let’s take a moment to see how this misuse got so bad.

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The Mass Misuse of Pfizer’s Neurontin and Lyrica

Since Pfizer acquired Neurontin in 2000 and came to own Lyrica, unfortunately, things have not gotten better. In 2014, as reported by Reuters, “Pfizer Inc has agreed to pay $325 million to resolve claims it defrauded insurers and other healthcare benefit providers by marketing Neurontin for unapproved uses, its second settlement over the epilepsy drug in six weeks.”[7]

This settlement came a decade after Pfizer, in May 2014, “agreed to pay $430 million and to plead guilty to criminal charges for illegally marketing Neurontin for unapproved uses such as migraine headaches and pain.”[7]

It’s extremely discouraging knowing that some companies have the billions of dollars that allow them to get away with these antics at the expense of others’ lives. But there seems to be no end in sight. That’s why it’s so crucial to know how to effectively and naturally treat various of causes of pain.

5 Pain Relief Solutions You Can Use Without Side Effects

From migraine headaches to fibromyalgia, we hope these bring you the same pain relief they bring us in our daily lives.

  1. Massage magnesium oil into your skin, you can try using this magnesium spray
  2. Consume oral magnesium malate daily – found here
  3. Take curcumin capsules (and 20 other natural ways to find pain relief)
  4. Add these top 5 anti-inflammatory foods to your diet
  5. Soak in a lavender-infused Epsom salt bath right before bed

[1] Neurontin Oral : Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Pictures, Warnings & Dosing. (n.d.). Retrieved December 08, 2017, from https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-9845-8217/neurontin-oral/gabapentin-oral/details

[2] Neurontin Uses, Dosage, Side Effects & Warnings. (2017, November 07). Retrieved December 08, 2017, from https://www.drugs.com/neurontin.html

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[3] Quintero, G. C. (2017). Review about gabapentin misuse, interactions, contraindications and side effects. Retrieved December 08, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5308580/

[4] Eroglu, C., Allen, N. J., Susman, M. W., O’Rourke, N. A., Park, C. Y., Özkan, E., . . . Barres, B. A. (2009, October 16). The Gabapentin Receptor α2δ-1 is the Neuronal Thrombospondin Receptor Responsible for Excitatory CNS Synaptogenesis. Retrieved December 08, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2791798/

[5] Moshiri, M., Moallem, S. A., Attaranzadeh, A., Saberi, Z., & Etemad, L. (2017, March). Injury to skeletal muscle of mice following acute and sub-acute pregabalin exposure. Retrieved December 08, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28392896

[6] Lempel, A. A., Coll, L., Schinder, A. F., Uchitel, O. D., & Piriz, J. (2017, January). Chronic pregabalin treatment decreases excitability of dentate gyrus and accelerates maturation of adult-born granule cells. Retrieved December 08, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27419661

[7] Stempel, J. (2014, June 02). Pfizer to pay $325 million in Neurontin settlement. Retrieved December 08, 2017, from https://www.reuters.com/article/us-pfizer-neurontin-settlement/pfizer-to-pay-325-million-in-neurontin-settlement-idUSKBN0ED1IS20140602

[8] Harris, G. (2009, September 02). Pfizer Pays $2.3 Billion to Settle Marketing Case. Retrieved December 08, 2017, from http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/03/business/03health.html

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