The Risks of Non-Opioid Pain Medications 

Two of the most commonly prescribed non-opioid “pain medications” are Lyrica (pregabalin) and Neurontin (gabapentin), both of which were initially approved by the FDA as anti-seizure drugs. The dangers of these medications are too often minimized by doctors, government agencies, and the media -- and to some degree remain unknown (particularly in the long-term). One thing that has recently been unearthed is that these medicines prevent the formation of new brain synapses. This is not a minor side effect. It can lead to short and long-term memory loss, as well as Alzheimer's disease, among other things.

It can also mean that the brain becomes incapable of neuroplacticity. According to the Huntington Outreach Project at Stanford University, our brains rely on neuroplasticity to “compensate for injury and adjust their activity in response to new situations or changes in their environment.” In lay terms, these drugs cause brain damage.

In addition to the under-reported peril involved in the use of these drugs (and many others that are being used in place of opioids), they also have long and worrisome side effects. The potential side effects of both Lyrica and Neurontin are far too many to list, but include vomiting of blood, pancreatitis, hearing loss, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, “oncologic” (cancerous) potential, heart disease, heart attack, acute kidney failure, and “life-threatening angioedema with respiratory compromise.”

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PAINSandra Ishkanes