Lyrica addiction: the new Tramadol alternative

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Lyrica’s addiction is a new challenge that is hanging over many societies and even represents a real danger to the new generations of young people who are the hope of progress in any society.

The addiction to Lyrica pills is one of the types that fall under the category of medical drug addiction, which is considered one of the most dangerous types of addiction that is directly destructive to society, due to the ease of obtaining it compared to other traditional drugs.

What are Lyrica pills?

Lyrica pills, also known as “pregabalin”, are becoming one of the most popular drugs in recent days, as it is known as the best alternative to Tramadol, and has already become the primary alternative for many young people and adolescents addicted to Tramadol. This is for many reasons, the most important of which is that Tramadol has become difficult to obtain due to its high price compared to the price of Lyrica pills, which is considered the cheapest.

Lyrica was approved for circulation and use by the European Union in 2004, as well as the World Food Organization in the United States of America, to be used in the treatment of epilepsy and pain conditions that result from nerve damage such as pain caused by diabetes or spinal cord.

It should be noted that sales of the Lyrica brand reached $1 billion in 2017, making it the second-largest selling product for Pfizer, which spent $216 million promoting Lyrica pills directly to consumers through television ads in 2017. The Lyrica CR brand name was approved at the beginning of 2017.

Lyrica is an oral medication that is chemically related to gabapentin and is used to treat pain caused by neurological conditions such as post-episode neuralgia and seizures, and it is also used to treat fibromyalgia.

Lyrica’s relation to Tramadol

Tramadol is a pain reliever used to treat moderate to severe pain.

Tramadol’s mechanism of action is similar to morphine. Tramadol binds to receptors in the brain (narcotic or opiate receptors) that transmit pain sensations from all over the body to the brain. Like other drugs used to treat pain, patients who take Tramadol without a doctor’s supervision may become addicted to it.

There is no doubt that Tramadol addiction has spread at a terrible speed in recent years. And in spite of the deterrent laws that have been put in place in many Arab countries, especially Egypt, for drug dealers, many young people have turned to look for other alternatives that can replace Tramadol. The solution for them was Lyrica because it is easy to obtain from pharmacies.

Another reason for the Lyrica addiction is the belief that when they take Lyrica pills to treat anxiety that occur because of the Tramadol addiction treatment, and this thinking has no basis, and people keep taking it without consulting a doctor, and without any medical advice. The reason that this idea is wrong is that Tramadol acts on the central nervous system, while Lyrica is an analgesic that relieves pain and calms nerves. Hence, such people who take Tramadol believe that Tramadol withdrawal symptoms have gradually decreased. And they are in the right way to treat Tramadol addiction, and this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Similar side effects of Lyrica and Tramadol include dizziness, nausea, dry mouth, constipation, drowsiness, and visual disturbances (including blurred vision, double vision). Side effects of Lyrica that differ from Tramadol include tiredness, fluid retention, weight gain, tremor, difficulty concentrating, increased appetite, memory loss, confusion, weak heart, low blood pressure, vomiting, low blood platelet count, and increased creatinine in blood levels.

Reasons for using Lyrica as a therapeutic drug

The most famous medicinal uses of Lyrica pills are its use to treat anxiety and epileptic seizures, in addition to a group of other uses, including:

  • Epilepsy

Lyrica is used to treat some cases of epilepsy, such as partial seizures in adults, but Lyrica pills are not used alone to treat some cases of epilepsy, it should be used alongside other medicines that are mainly used to treat epilepsy.

  • Myalgia

Myalgia syndrome causes pain throughout the body and also causes weakness in tendons, joints, muscles, and tissues. This is a result of the excessive activity of the nerves and the imbalance of the chemicals produced by the body, so the nerves send signals to all parts of the body that are responsible for fibromyalgia.

  • Nerve pain relief

Lyrica pills are used to relieve pain caused by diabetes, especially in late cases of diabetes, as the patients feel severe pain in the nerves, especially the arms and legs.

  • Pain relief for spinal cord injuries

Spinal cord injuries are originally neurological injuries, so Lyrica pills reduce nerve impulses in the brain and neurotransmitters, and thus the patient feels comfortable after using it as a result because the signals he sends to pain centers from the nervous system to the brain have decreased.

Types of Lyrica pills and their concentration

  • Lyrica 25 mg
  • Lyrica 50 mg
  • Lyrica 75 mg
  • Lyrica 100 mg
  • Lyrica 150 mg
  • Lyrica 200 mg
  • Lyrica 225 mg
  • Lyrica 300 mg

 

How does a person become addicted to Lyrica?

Lyrica is a pain reliever drug as it may be used with great effectiveness to treat epileptic seizures, so when a person takes Lyrica pills without a direct medical reason or under medical guidance, he is exposed to the drug’s interaction inside his body in a way that causes Lyrica addiction.

Lyrica, once taken, directly affects the brain’s chemical reactions that cause pain. This effect, in the absence of pain, requires the drug to cause the body to become so accustomed to it that it is not possible to get out of bed in the morning without taking Lyrica.

The most dangerous thing is that if you fall prey to the risk of addiction to Lyrica pills, you feel the urge to increase the dose again and again, which doubles the damage and effects of Lyrica addiction.

Lyrica addiction’s side effects

The effects of Lyrica pills appear when the person becomes addicted to these pills, and these side effects are:

  • Severe swelling in the addict’s legs

This swelling occurs as a result of the frequent use of Lyrica pills without the need for it, the area of the legs below the knee swells, and as a result, the patient is unable to walk or even do simple daily work.

  • The addict suffers from overweight

One of the noticeable side effects of Lyrica pills is the appearance of weight gain shortly after taking them.

  • The addict also suffers an incapability to pay attention

Symptoms of poor memory, low level of perception, and also a low level of attention appear as a result of Lyrica addiction, because they mainly affect the central nervous system, which in turn affects the sense of perception, attention, and memory.

  • Suffering from blood diseases

Lyrica pills Addiction causes a severe drop in the number of blood platelets inside the human body, which in turn affects the immune system and leads to its failure to perform its function significantly and effectively, and the body becomes more vulnerable to diseases, bacteria, diseases of the immune system and blood diseases.

  • Being at risk of getting kidney stones

One of the harms of Lyrica pills is that they affect urination, which leads to the accumulation of toxins and salts inside the kidneys, and that leads to the formation of kidney stones quickly.

  • Always feeling tired

Some of the symptoms that accompany the Lyrica pills addiction are excessive sweating, stress and constant pain as we find that those who are addicted to Lyrica pills complain a lot of severe pain.

Lyrica addiction treatment at Dar El-Taafy for addiction treatment

Lyrica addiction treatment is not limited to prescribing medications only, but it needs psychotherapy and family support in order for the addict to be able to lead a normal life again. Thus, Lyrica addiction treatment goes through two main phases, as follows:

 1- Withdrawing the drug from the body and professionally handling withdrawal symptoms

At this stage, the doctors and experts of addiction treatment at Dar El-Taafy cleanse the body of toxins and get rid of the effects of the drug by reducing the doses taken by the addict until it reaches the zero stage using scientific methods and medications that reduce the severity of pain.

The withdrawal phase of the drug from the body takes a period ranging from 5 to 15 days, according to the amount that the addict was abusing.

During this period, the addict is exposed to a set of withdrawal symptoms that need medical supervision and continuous follow-up, the most remarkable of which are:

  • Feeling sleepy
  • Severe dizziness and lack of balance
  • Dryness in the mouth
  • Gastrointestinal disorder and constipation
  • Extreme difficulty concentrating
  • Sudden swelling in the legs
  • Noticeable weight gain
  • Feeling depressed
  • Having suicidal tendencies
  • The desire to self-harm

 2- Psychotherapy and rehabilitation

At this stage, the psychiatrists in Dar El-Taafy help the patient face society again without returning to addiction, and also through treat any other psychological disorders that may lead to the patient’s return to addiction.

This is done through individual and group therapy sessions with the help of a group of ex-addicts, the therapy sessions are based on exchanging experiences and support is provided to people newly recovering from drug addiction.

In conclusion, the treatment of Lyrica pills addiction is at the forefront of drug addiction treatment, due to its widespread in a short period of time and among various categories of addicts, and this is not limited to Tramadol addicts, but to all types of addiction such as heroin, cannabis, Captagon … etc.

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