Pain Medications: A Process Of Trial And Error
The first pain medication I took for my nerve pain, even before my diagnosis, was Duloxetine. It helped calm down the burning pain I had, but at the time, I thought it was causing urine retention so I was advised to stop taking it. I also began to develop double vision, which we thought was a side effect of this pain medication. In reality, these were symptoms of NMOSD, which we did not know at the time.
Trial and error
The second pain medication I took was Pregabalin, also known as Lyrica. I would say this was probably the worst pain medication I had ever been on. I also started taking it during my attack, which meant I was suffering from both symptoms of NMOSD at their peak and the horrible side effects of Lyrica. It did not help with my pain at all. It essentially worsened my neuropathy and resulted in my feet swelling awfully, making it extremely uncomfortable to walk with shoes and in general. However, that was just my experience and from other people's perspectives, Lyrica or Pregabalin has been an amazing pain medication for them.
Pain medication in the hospital
In the hospital, they decided to switch my medication from Pregabalin to Gabapentin at a dose of 300mg, 3 times a day. From what I can recall, I started this pain medication after my 5-day course of IV steroids which meant most of my painful symptoms had disappeared already. What I did notice a few days into taking Gabapentin was how drowsy and emotional I was. As soon as I took it, I would fall asleep, and my attitude quickly switched to being angry and upset constantly. It also caused bloating for me, which was uncomfortable. The mood changes settled a few weeks later, but I began to develop an allergic reaction to the medication. Eventually, I had to start taking a course of antihistamines daily along with the pain medication. Around 5 months later, I started developing extremely painful back pain radiating to my right breast, armpit, and arm. It became so unbearable that I thought it was a sign of a relapse.
After meeting with my neurologist, he switched my medication to another pain medication called Amitriptyline. I did not think it would work, but just after two days of taking it, my months of suffering from pain 24/7 had ended. It worked absolutely amazing for my nerve pain, but emotionally I was at rock bottom because of the side effects. It made me feel sluggish and tired all the time, and at one point, I even neglected my coursework and spent all my days sleeping. However, luckily enough, a few weeks later, the side effects began to settle, and Amitriptyline is still working amazing for my nerve pain.
Finding what works for you is a process of trial and error, it can take a long time to find things that help with the pain, but it will be worth it in the end. What works for others may not work for you, and what works for you may not work for others.
Were you misdiagnosed, prior to being diagnosed with NMOSD?