Diagnosing Fibromyalgia | LYRICA® (pregabalin) CV | Safety Info
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Diagnosing fibromyalgia is the first step toward finding pain relief
Fibromyalgia can be difficult to diagnose. In fact, for many people it can take years. But getting that diagnosis can start you on your path to treatment. By understanding how fibromyalgia is diagnosed, you may be able to reach that point a little sooner. For instance, you may need to find a specialist who is familiar with your condition.
Why fibromyalgia can be challenging to diagnose
There are a number of reasons why diagnosing fibromyalgia can be difficult:
Doctors often need to rule out other conditions first
Fibromyalgia can mimic other conditions. Seemingly unrelated symptoms may lead your doctor to suspect other diseases. Doctors often test for other conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, Lyme disease, and mononucleosis before reaching a fibromyalgia diagnosis.
X-rays or blood tests can't be used to diagnose fibromyalgia
Since there are no tests that can determine whether or not you have fibromyalgia, your doctor needs to rely solely on your symptoms. And these symptoms often vary from person to person and from day to day. It’s important to tell your doctor about your symptoms so he or she understands the pain you’re feeling.
Not all doctors have diagnosed and treated fibromyalgia before
Although fibromyalgia is not a rare condition, some doctors are more experienced with it than others. So, it is important to find a doctor with experience at making the fibromyalgia diagnosis and treating the condition. Rheumatologists, neurologists, and pain management specialists frequently diagnose and treat fibromyalgia.
Guidelines to help your doctor diagnose fibromyalgia
There are guidelines that can be very helpful in the diagnosis of fibromyalgia. In 1990, the American College of Rheumatology published the following criteria:
- Widespread pain above and below the waist, on both the right and left sides of your body, and in the axial skeleton (your skull, spine, rib cage, and the bones in your throat and ears) for at least 3 months
- Tenderness or pain in 11 of the 18 “tender points” on your body
Based on these guidelines, your doctor may perform a tender points exam. Your doctor will do this by applying pressure to these 18 points and counting how many you find tender.
In 2010, the American College of Rheumatology published a new set of preliminary guidelines. These guidelines include a widespread pain index that assesses the number of painful body regions, and a scale that assesses the severity of symptoms such as fatigue, sleep problems, comprehension problems, and others in the body.
By using one or both of these sets of guidelines, along with tests to rule out other possible conditions, it is possible for your doctor to make a fibromyalgia diagnosis. So if you think you may have fibromyalgia, talk to your doctor about what steps you can take toward an accurate diagnosis. Get tips to prepare for your next doctor appointment.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION & INDICATIONS
LYRICA is not for everyone. LYRICA may cause serious, even life threatening, allergic reactions. Stop taking LYRICA and call your doctor right away if you have any signs of a serious allergic reaction. Some signs are swelling of your face, mouth, lips, gums, tongue, throat or neck or if you have any trouble breathing, or have a rash, hives or blisters.
Drugs used to treat seizures increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior. LYRICA may cause suicidal thoughts or actions in a very small number of people, about 1 in 500. Patients, family members or caregivers should call the doctor right away if they notice suicidal thoughts or actions, thoughts of self harm, or any unusual changes in mood or behavior. These changes may include new or worsening depression, anxiety, restlessness, trouble sleeping, panic attacks, anger, irritability, agitation, aggression, dangerous impulses or violence, or extreme increases in activity or talking. If you have suicidal thoughts or actions, do not stop LYRICA without first talking to your doctor.
LYRICA may cause swelling of your hands, legs and feet, which can be serious for people with heart problems. LYRICA may cause dizziness and sleepiness. You should not drive or work with machines until you know how LYRICA affects you. Also, tell your doctor right away about muscle pain or problems along with feeling sick and feverish, or any changes in your eyesight including blurry vision or if you have any kidney problems or get dialysis.
Some of the most common side effects of LYRICA are dizziness, blurry vision, weight gain, sleepiness, trouble concentrating, swelling of your hands and feet, dry mouth, and feeling “high.” If you have diabetes, tell your doctor about any skin sores.
You may have a higher chance for swelling and hives if you are also taking angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors so tell your doctor if you are taking these medications. You may have a higher chance of swelling of your hands or feet or gaining weight if you are also taking certain diabetes medicines. Do not drink alcohol while on LYRICA. You may have a higher chance for dizziness and sleepiness if you take LYRICA with alcohol, narcotic pain medicines, or medicines for anxiety.
Before you start LYRICA, tell your doctor if you are planning to father a child, or if you are pregnant, or plan to become pregnant. Breastfeeding is not recommended while taking LYRICA. If you have had a drug or alcohol problem, you may be more likely to misuse LYRICA.
In studies, a specific type of blood vessel tumor was seen in mice, but not in rats. The meaning of these findings in humans is not known.
Do not stop taking LYRICA without talking to your doctor. If you stop suddenly you may have headaches, nausea, diarrhea, trouble sleeping, increased sweating, or you may feel anxious. If you have epilepsy, you may have seizures more often.
LYRICA is indicated to treat fibromyalgia, diabetic nerve pain, spinal cord injury nerve pain and pain after shingles. LYRICA is also indicated to treat partial onset seizures in adults with epilepsy who take 1 or more drugs for seizures.