Tramadol vs. Lyrica?
Q: I take tramadol for pain for my Fibromyalgia, but have been hearing a lot about LyricaR. Is Lyrica something you would take every day to prevent pain or just when pain occurs? Is it more effective than tramadol? Thanks. I need to see my physician about this but I’d like to have some information before I do so. I need to be prepared when I talk to her. – SM
A: Tramadol is a narcotic-like pain reliever. It binds to opioid receptors and somewhat inhibits serotonin/norepinephrine reuptake, which produces an analgesic or pain-relieving effect. Lyrica reduces the release of neurotransmitters, which lessens the transmission of pain from nerve damage. It is also an anticonvulsant.
The dosing recommendations for Lyrica, when used to treat FM, require slowly increasing the dosage over a seven-day period when starting it and slowly decreasing over the same time period when discontinuing it. Therefore, it appears that Lyrica is intended to be taken on a daily basis; however, it would be up to your doctor to determine the best dosing schedule for you.
The answer to whether or not Lyrica is more effective than tramadol will vary from patient to patient. No drug has yet been found that works for every FM patient. In clinical trials, approximately half of the FM patients taking Lyrica reported some degree of improvement. Anecdotally, we’ve heard from people who loved it, those who hated it, and everything in between. Ultimately, you and your doctor will have to decide if it’s something you want to try or not.
Q: I am taking guaifenesin for fibro. Am I able to use supplements that you carry? I am just not sure when I buy the guai from you if you only carry supplements without salicylates. – Karen
A: ProHealth’s info on guaifenesin products includes a “Salicylate-free Product List” featuring a lengthy alphabetized list of products you might be interested in.
Does Guaifenesin Help?
Q: Recently I read that guaifenesin does not help FM. Is this so, and why do I read that it is good to take? – Linda
A: The Guaifenesin Protocol was developed by Dr. R. Paul St. Amand. To date research has not been able to duplicate the positive results he reports. However, Dr. St. Amand points out that previous research did not prohibit the use of products containing salicylates, which negate the effects of the guaifenesin. As with every FM treatment program, some people find it helpful and others do not. In the end, only you and your doctor can decide whether guaifenesin, or any other treatment protocol, is something you should try.
Dr. Lowe’s Research on Hypothyroidism
Q: I live in Australia and read your site every week. I was wondering if any of your team has heard about the work being done in the USA by a Dr. John C. Lowe. His work, in a nutshell, states that FM is due to either hypothyroidism or partial cellular resistance to thyroid hormone. He has written a huge book, some 700 pages on the subject, and another simpler book. I was wondering if anyone has looked into his work and what feedback you may have on this. – Greg
A: Yes, we are very aware of Dr. Lowe’s work. As research progresses, it appears that there may be a number of subsets or causes for Fibromyalgia. It is very likely that hypothyroidism is one of those possible causes. Although Dr. Lowe has been saying it for several years, the medical community as a whole has just recently acknowledged that the thyroid tests being done were missing a significant number of people who are hypothyroid. As a result, the “normal” range on the Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) tests was lowered.
Magnesium for FM?
Q: I have Fibromyalgia and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. I noticed in some of Dr. Podell’s information he mentions magnesium loss being an important factor in pain. [“Reversing Eight Vicious Cycles that Block FM and CFS Healing”] My rheumatologist has recommended supplementing my magnesium. However; because of my IBS, my gastroenterologist suggests I take Milk of Magnesia (in varying doses based on my daily symptoms), which of course contains magnesium.
My question is – is there a specific daily amount of magnesium that a Fibromyalgia patient should be getting? If I have a target of so many milligrams/day, I can then figure out how much supplemental magnesium to take daily based on how much MOM I have already taken. Also, is there an upper limit that I should not exceed and what symptoms would I look for if I did exceed it?
A: An article in the ImmuneSupport archives provides a good overview of the importance of magnesium for FM: “Magnesium in the Treatment of Fibromyalgia.” In clinical trials, the effective dosages of magnesium ranged from 300 to 600mg per day. It’s important to note that when using magnesium for FM, it should usually be taken with malic acid. In the clinical trials mentioned, patients also took 1200 to 2400mg of malic acid with the magnesium. Symptoms of magnesium overdose include: nausea, vomiting, severely lowered blood pressure, slowed heart rate, drowsiness, decreased reflexes, weakness, and coma. Also note, because magnesium competes with calcium for absorption, make sure you are getting enough calcium to prevent a calcium deficiency.
FM and Face Sweating?
Q: Does anyone who has Fibromyalgia ever experience excessive sweating from the face?
A: Yes, it’s not at all unusual for people with Fibromyalgia to be extremely sensitive to both heat and cold. They may experience sudden changes in body temperature and sweat abundantly. Sometimes this sweating shows up first and most noticeably in the face.
Note: This information has not been evaluated by the FDA. It is generic and is not meant to prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure any condition, illness, or disease. It is very important that you make no change in your healthcare plan or health support regimen without researching and discussing it in collaboration with your professional healthcare team.