As the specialists of Los Angeles spine surgery, we understand the many difficulties that patients encounter when lower back pain is a problem. Now, imagine taking a medication that’s supposed to relieve lower back pain, and chronic conditions such as lumbar spinal stenosis, only to discover that it’s no more effective than a sugar pill. In a nutshell, this is what a study concerning the drug pregabalin, commonly marketed as Lyrica by pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, published in the journal Neurology suggests.
The study concludes that pregabalin doesn’t provide substantial relief for patients with walking pain associated with lumbar spinal stenosis. During the course of the study, participants with lumbar spinal stenosis were asked to walk on a treadmill and report their pain levels as patients with this condition typically experience bouts of pain while standing. There was no significant difference in level of pain reported by participants who received the drug and those given a placebo.
It should be noted that pregabalin isn’t technically approved as a treatment for lower back pain, or any type of back pain. Doctors often prescribe the medication thinking that it may help a particular patient based on their specific symptoms. The drug has been associated with side effects ranging from headaches and dizziness to fatigue and blurred vision.
What this means for patients with lumbar spinal stenosis (and a set of symptoms often referred to as sciatica) is that it may be best to rely on other treatments for meaningful relief. This study is significant because it is the first study of its kind to focus exclusively on pregabalin as a treatment for pain related to lumbar spinal stenosis and related symptoms. For patients currently taking this drug as part of their treatment plan, the study provides an added incentive to have a discussion with their doctor to at least reassess treatment options.
If you are living with spinal stenosis and are in search of treatment options, reach out to The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration. While we specialize in the latest treatments such as minimally invasive spinal surgery in Los Angeles, we also take a conservative approach to care and provide patients with all of their treatment options, first starting with non-surgical methods and techniques. To request a consultation, please call (310) 828-7757.