Thursday, September 20, 2012

Side Effects to Write Home About

Do you ever watch the commercials for prescription medicines and laugh at the lengthy disclaimers regarding side effects?  You know the ones, they go on for about 2 minutes, listing every possible thing that could go wrong if you take the newest "wonder drug".  An announcer intones in an ominous voice "Side effects may include nausea, vomittiing, dizzyness, the hair of your dog to fall out.....OR DEATH."  Death always makes me laugh the most because honestly?  Who in their right mind is going to take a drug, any drug, if DEATH is a possible side effect? Doesn't the kind of, sort of defeat the purpose of taking the drug in the first place?

I write this post because although I have experienced mild side effects to some medications I have to take - does anyone remember the anti nausea medication that actually made me throw up? - yeah,  like that, but nothing so severe that it would force me to stop a drug because of it.

Until Lyrica. Wow.  And this post will explain where the heck I have actually been for the past week.  I know y'all thought I was out toolin' around in Oscar, when all I have been trying to do is rid my system of that drug.

The Lyrica was prescribed to me, along with morphine, to treat my rheumatoid arthritis. I wrote about it a few posts back saying it was a wonder drug combination and I was pain free for the first time in over 4 years.  I had actually forgotten what it was to not feel pain 24/7 but the Lyrica worked. And worked so well.  I was justifiably excited that the doctor had found a drug I was able to take with all my other meds/health concerns and it WORKED.

Until the side effects started.  Now, being a good patient I read all the literature I could regarding Lyrica to educate myself to the pros and cons of taking it.  Sleepiness I could handle, nausea was no problem as I am an old pro at that and included was depression, but since I don't have a history of depression I knew I would be fine. And in all of those area I was.

The one side effect I never read about or was warned against? Nightmares.  Not your run of the mill, "oh I woke up that was a bad dream, hold me honey" type nightmares. No, no, no.  These were full on, thrashing the sheets, flailing at the air, screeching out loud WHILE asleep, waking up, shaking uncontrollably, in a cold sweat and a "where the hell am I" type of nightmares.  I had one nightmare that was so severe I had to call Pooldad to come home from work.  I could not stop shaking and crying.  Everytime I thought about that nightmare I started to cry.  And if you think that doesn't sound a bit like me? You are SO right.

These nightmares were so vivid, so scary, SO something I had never experienced before I knew it had to do with the Lyrica.  I went online and lo' and behold - it IS a side effect, but it isn't listed in the legal disclaimers provided by the company that makes the drug.  What is especially frightening is that I was on the lowest dose that a person can take in a day while I this was happening.

Although you are supposed to wean yourself off the drug slowly to avoid yet MORE side effects I hadn't been on it long enough to care about that, figuring nothing was going to be worse than what I had experienced. I stopped taking it immediately.  I had three more of those vicious dreams, afraid I would never want to sleep again, before they blessedly stopped. I told Pooldad I would live in pain for the rest of my life before I ever fell asleep knowing those nightmares were coming.

So, here I sit. My trusty bottle of morphine and me.  The morphine doesn't even begin to touch the pain so I don't take it.  It is an addictive narcotic.  If it worked I would absolutely take it but I don't need it's side effects with no relief.

I am not complaining, honest - nor am I bad mouthing Lyrica. It works miracles for a lot of people and I am happy it is on the market.  I wish it had worked for me without that side effect, but I am sure once I get to my RA appointment we will figure something out.

In the meantime I am marking the days off my calendar, praying that November 7th gets here soon. :)

I am still zipping around in Oscar. Love my car! And now I must be off because I have to take him to the dealership to get a few things taken care of.

It's going to be a great day y'all.  Keep smiling and we'll see ya' on the flipside.

ETA at 11 pm - Was anyone going to point out the glaring typo I had in the title? "Sid effects"?  sidE


Tracy said...

Can you not get in earlier to the doctor than November 7? I know nothing about those type of doctors but I would hope you could get worked in.

Celia said...

I'm sorry you're in so much pain. That's awful! I wish you could into the DR sooner.

colenic said...

Wow...that sounds miserable....I haev had those night terrors before and know that they are terrifing.
I hope that now you are off of it you are able to get peaceful sleep and will keep my fingers crossed that the dr. can get you on something that works just as well...without the icky side effects....maybe a cancellation list at the dr??
Hugs and love to you!

Julie said...

Oh man - we don't get many drug ads here in the UK - mainly ibuprofen and stuff like that - but prescription meds - no!! It made me giggle when we were in california.
Hope things get better for you - and i know what you mean about the morphine - works for me, but i have to have the anti sickness stuff or i just chuck!

Southhamsdarling said...

We just don't get adverts like that here in England - thank goodness I would say, judging by your comments! I am SO sorry to hear about the dreadful nightmares caused by Lyrica, and I am even more sorry to hear that you have had to come off it and therefore back to coping with the pain again. I was so happy when you were feeling so well. Oh dear, this is not so good dear friend. I agree with Col - can you not bring the doctor's appointment forward in view of all this. Please know that you are always in my prayers. Take care. Big hugs from me to you x

SkippyMom said...

NIGHT TERRORS! That is the phrase I was looking for col. Thank you, but sorry you had to experience those. Never again and I bet you feel the same way. :) Hugs to you.

Rudee said...


Unknown said...

I am so glad to read that you are still there, yet sad to hear about how you've been suffering. I don't do well with morphine either - just throw up constantly. Not worth it for me. I'm thankful to read your comments about Lyrica, as I am going to the rheumatologist next Friday. I had to wait a long time to get this appointment, and I don't know why it takes so long to get in, but I agree with the others that you should campaign with your office to get you in sooner. I'll be keeping you in my thoughts and prayers also, friend.

CWMartin said...

I am so sorry to hear that. Hopefully you'll find something a little less reactant soon.

Jeannie said...

Damn. Blogger ate my comment!

Them are some crazy side effects! No pain! but ~ No SLEEP either! I hope the doc can come up with a strategy that will work for you. I'd understand not wanting to have another go at Lyrica but I wonder if taking it every other day until your body got accustomed to it might work. Being pain free must have been a wonderful holiday until the terrors started. Maybe they could work for you - a la Stephen King - write those suckers down! I think maybe you should have those demon eggs exorcised by the parish priest huh?

Juli said...

I remember having nightmares like that when I was pregnant. They always involved dish plate sized flying insects. The worst part was that I would still see the images once I was awake. Not an actual hallucination, because I knew it wasn't real, but like an imprint of the image was still there in front of me. Yes, I know... I am so weird. When the kids came they went away so it seems to be a hormone thing for me, but there is no way I'd take a medication that would give me those dreams again.

Here's to getting some sleep *clinks glasses of zquil*

Sous Gal said...

I totally had those nightmares. I'd rather stay awake than sleep. Scarey SCAREY shit! And worse, I couldn't tell you what the nightmares were about, only that they scared the life out of me. I feel your pain and GOOD on ya! for quitting those nasty pills. I was so scared one night after a dream that I almost crawled into bed with the alcoholic!

life in the mom lane said...

Awww shoot- another med bites the dust! Well that sucks doesn't it- I am so sorry to hear about what you've been dealing with. I'm not sure what I would do given your situation... guess it would depend upon how severe the pain was during the day. (I'm kind of a wimp like that)

Knitty said...

I'm sorry you experienced that. I've heard some people have that with anti-smoking medication. Some of the ads you mentioned are the ones hubby and I shake our heads at too. Remember the ad for the weight loss drug Alli? May cause anal leakage! Holy you-know-what!!!

I wish a cure for RA could be found quickly, along with many other diseases, autoimmune and otherwise. Maybe what works in Lyrica can be isolated without the side effects. Maybe the money spent advertising should go to research. Instead the drug companies want us to be swayed by marketing and go ito the doctor and ask for drugs. Gee....what did doctors go to school for anyway? We can Google our symptoms and match a commercial to what we need.

Anonymous said...

So sorry that happened to you Skippy! Same thing happened with Tony in the hospital. He had some type of drug interaction (can't remember now what it was) but in the middle of the night, he woke up thinking he was in the wrong room and that people were after him - he had just had knee replacement surgery, but somehow bit through his IV line and walked down the hallway 30 feet until he collapsed in the waiting room off of the nurses station!

Needless to say, when I went to visit him the next day, his room was right by the nurses station!

Hang in there!

ellen abbott said...

Holy crap Skippy! Night terrors. How awful. Well, I'm glad that's over with but too bad since it gave you some relief.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

We always giggle a little at the drug ads, too. The voice sounds so soothing and reassuring, and is completely at odds with the God-awful side effects he's talking so nonchalantly about. Anal leakage? Um, I believe I'll skip that particular drug, thank you. And how about the sleeping pill that just might make you drive a car while you're asleep??? OY! I am soooo sorry about the night terrors, kiddo. Hopefully, the doc will come up with something even better for you. 12:34