Following FDA approval of Lyrica, the first drug approved to treat fibromyalgia, the New York Times published a controversial article asking if the disease exists.
The Times says patient advocacy groups and fibromyalgia doctors believe approval of Lyrica is an important step, and hopes its approval will legitimize fibromyalgia in the same way Prozac legitimized depression. But, the Times says, other doctors believe the disease does not exist and that Lyrica will be taken by millions of people who do not need it.
Adding to the controversy is the fact that Lyrica itself is a drug originally designed for diabetic nerve pain which has been dismissed due to its unimpressive results and numerous side effects, including weight gain, l edema, dizziness and drowsiness. This has left some wondering if Lyrica’s repositioning is little more than a cynical ploy to sell a failed drug. The potential for weight gain is of particular concern, as many fibromyalgia patients are already overweight.
The Times article has already generated numerous comments online and highlights the difficult intersection where the greed of drug companies and the medicalization of non-existent diseases meet the inability of conventional medicine to diagnose and treat real problems. .