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Lyrica / pregabalin: A Current Affair program Australia


ChessieCat

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ChessieCat

This video is from last night.  In the future it might be available on YouTube.  You could try searching for: A Current Affair Aussie families and doctors issue painkiller addiction warning.  If it does become available on YouTube then the transcript of the video will probably be available and could be copied and pasted in this topic.

 

https://9now.nine.com.au/a-current-affair/painkiller-lyrica-accused-of-being-addictive-dangerous-tearing-families-apart/cec6d9a7-6256-4c2a-9ad0-e5c8f29f4d60

 

I am posting the following from the website in case in the future it is no longer available:

 

 

Aussie families and doctors issue painkiller addiction warning

 

By Dimity Clancey

 

A cheap painkiller prescribed to millions of Australians each year is "like Santa Claus in a pill," according to Sydney psychiatrist Dr Tanveer Ahmed.

 

He said the drug Lyrica has "become all things to all people," leaving increasing numbers of patients addicted.

 

"One of the reasons it has become dangerous is because it has become all things to all people, it is being dished out like lollies," Dr Ahmed told A Current Affair.

 

 He said it's much easier for GPs to prescribe Lyrica than other painkillers like codeine, which are heavily regulated to prevent addiction.

 

"There really is very little restriction, you can go and get a repeat at a pharmacy without question, you can go to doctors and there is very little monitoring," he said.

 

Finance broker Christalla Andreadis started taking Lyrica after suffering severe spinal injuries in a car accident in 2017, and now she's struggling to stop.

 

"Now everyone is going to know my dirty little secret," she said.

 

"I can't go on like this, you suffer in silence and when you're thinking, 'I can't do this anymore', I don't want to grow old like this." 

 

The 52-year-old was embarrassed to admit she was outsmarted by a simple painkiller.

 

"This drug gets its claws into your soul. It has taken every fibre of my being, is what it has taken me to try and come off it," Ms Andreadis said.

 

In the past two years Ms Andreadis has managed to reduce the dosage, but she can't quit cold turkey.

 

Gayle Wilson's daughter Anita died after taking a deadly combination of Lyrica and opioids.

"I feel as though I failed her. I couldn't find anything else to do, to keep her alive," Gayle said.

Anita's death at 33-years-old followed years of addiction to pain medication, which started after she had her wisdom teeth out in 2017. 

 

Lyrica, also known as pregabalin, was originally prescribed to treat epilepsy and nerve pain.

Manufactured by Pfizer, it was added to Australia's pharmaceutical benefits scheme in 2013.

Pfizer launched a marketing blitz, investing $3.8 million into almost 500 education events to teach Aussie GPs about the drug.

 

Pregabalin scripts skyrocketed from 36,000 a year in 2012 to more than four million by 2018.

In America, Pfizer was prosecuted over its marketing of Lyrica.

 

"They agreed to pay $2.3 billion for a healthcare fraud settlement, they were illegally marketing four different drugs and Lyrica fell under that umbrella," Amy Kawaa explained.

 

Ms Kawwa started a support group for patients who beat an addiction to Lyrica.

 

When A Current Affair approached Pfizer, we initially received a one sentence response, saying Pfizer no longer owns Lyrica.

 

Pfizer directed the program's questions to a company called Viatris, which was created late last year when a division of Pfizer merged with another pharmaceutical firm.

 

Despite Pfizer trying to distance itself from Lyrica, its branding is still plastered all over the box and even the pills.

 

Pharmacist Said Khodary said the number of Lyrica scripts he has filled has more than doubled in the past three years.

 

"Anyone on a healthcare card, pension card, can pick it up for $6," Mr Khodary said.

 

He's well-seasoned at spotting doctor shoppers.

 

"They try to come up with lots of excuses, sometimes they're sweating, they're nervous, they're a bit anxious sometimes," he said.

 

Victoria is the only state which has mandatory monitoring for Lyrica prescriptions.

 

"There is no way for us to really monitor if they're getting prescriptions elsewhere. It would really help a lot," Mr Khodary explained.

 

© 2021 Nine Digital Pty Ltd

 

So close to the end!!!

🏁

Current from 16 October 2021:  Pristiq 0.005mg

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering Oct 2015 

My full tapering program     My Intro (goes to my tapering graph)    My website

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions.  I do not provide tapering advice via PM.  Please post questions in your Introduction topic.  Please do not tag me for any reason.  I am an unpaid volunteer and assist members if I am able to and when I have the time.  Thank you for your understanding.

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  • Moderator Emeritus
ChessieCat

The video has now been posted on Youtube here:

 

Painkiller addiction warning | A Current Affair

 

Approximately 11 minutes long

 

Here is the transcript copied from the above video:

 

 
Quote

 

 
it can be highly addictive and it's
taken by millions a painkiller that's
readily prescribed by doctors around the
country but as you're about to see in
our investigation there's a sinister
side to this drug
i feel as though i failed my daughter
this is a very dangerous drug it's a
very dangerous drug
this drug lyrica is like santa claus in
a pill
if i knew then what i know now i never
ever would have taken this drug
when we experience pain we often look
for a quick fix pill to try and take it
away most recently for many australians
that pill has been lyrica for patients
it's cheap it's accessible and millions
of scripts are written every year it's
been a blockbuster drug for pfizer who's
made hundreds of millions of dollars
from aussies using the painkiller
now everyone's gonna know my dirty
little secret
it's taken great courage for christala
and reedus to share her story i can't go
on like this
sorry
[Music]
[Applause]
so you suffer in silence and when you're
thinking on a day i can't do this
anymore i don't want to grow old like
this
cristala suffered severe spinal injuries
in a car accident in 2017 she was
prescribed lyrica to manage her chronic
pain i trusted the doctors i trusted
what they said to me
now the 52 year old wishes she'd never
taken that first pill a finance broker
chris is embarrassed to admit she was
outsmarted by a simple painkiller you
take it at first and you don't really
notice
very many differences and you go back to
the doctor so i'm still in pain i'm
still not feeling well i've still got
nerve pain i said well up the dosage and
you up up up up and before you knew it i
was taking 450 milligrams a day and
that's when this drug gets its claws
into your soul it's taken her two years
just to reduce the dosage but chris
still can't go cold turkey it is taken
every ounce every fibre of my being to
try and come off it
gail wilson's 33 year old daughter anita
was full of fun
[Music]
in 2017 after getting her wisdom teeth
out anita was prescribed strong
painkillers
and she would then say i have got period
pain i'll go to and get some panadeine
fort
i'll get more enzone
and she doctor shopped in no time
anita's life became one big sedation
she would take a deadly combination of
opioids and lyrica he gave her
exactly what she wanted because of her
addiction as many tablets as she could
possibly get and he gave it to her
feeling helpless gail started to record
anita
she hoped it would shock some sense into
her
lyrical one at one stage was 350
milligrams four times a day so i thought
i'll ring up and make an appointment to
see doctor and when i went in i said i'm
here about my daughter your patient and
i said she's asleep all the time and i
said it
and he said well she's going she's going
to die if she keeps doing that
and i said i realize that
but what can you do
no one could save anita
she overdosed last year
i feel as though i failed her i
i couldn't find anything else to do
to keep her alive
lyrica also known as progabalin was
originally prescribed to treat epilepsy
and nerve pain
manufactured by pfizer it was added to
australia's pharmaceutical benefits
scheme in 2013.
right away pfizer launched a marketing
blitz
3.8 million dollars was thrown into
almost 500 education events
to teach aussie gps about the drug
that investment paid dividends
pregabalin scripts skyrocketed from 36
000 a year in 2012 to more than 4
million by 2018 and research tells us 50
of those prescriptions are now handed
out for much more than nerve pain
you're in so much pain i nearly ended up
in hospital i started to forget things
these people have all had a battle with
lyrica over the years my brain just went
too much i did want to end my life
coming off it
um
and geez that's a bit touchy to talk
about um many feel like they were
dismissed when they asked for help if
the addiction gets worse today
psychiatrist dr tanveer ahmed is here to
listen i'm seeing more patients who talk
of the suicidal thoughts and some
studies have also shown that what
warnings come with this drug vicky there
was absolutely no warning
about any potential side effects
um and i wasn't made aware of any
potential side effects everyone can have
a look at rhiannon is 27.
she's addicted to lyrica i have lost six
to seven years of my life
on this drug and it's stolen my life
i've never i've never been the same
i can't get off here
eliza says her lyrical pain started when
she was 18. then all of a sudden
my mental health went
downhill it just made my mind dark and
it was a horrible horrible feeling it
sucks
the life out of you
it does it really does the day isn't bad
the not wanting to breathe
the fact that all joy
is
sucked out of you
but you keep going because you've got a
family to look after but i think that's
the other thing is it doesn't
discriminate you know you guys are just
normal everyday working people
completely debilitated by this like my
doctor actually said that
your withdrawals are what a heroin
addict will go through you're
experiencing exactly what a heroin
addict definitely and the withdrawals
are freaking horrendous they're sweating
the i can't talk properly i'm sitting
here with my mother and i can't even
have a conversation with her well
rhianna and you just gave a absolutely
perfect description of the drug's
addictive potential but you also
described how it gets worse i guess an
answer to the pain management rhiannon
is you need what's called a
multi-disciplinary team and that needs
to be appropriately resourced by
authorities i guess it's that that that
holistic you know team support
is that readily available for the people
who are out there well rhiannon's been
referred and she's waiting so often it's
really hard to access particularly in
outer metropolitan and regional areas
and that's actually where we see the
worst uh problems with drugs like lyrica
they would all agree getting proper help
is expensive yeah i actually had to stop
seeing my psychologist because i
couldn't afford it anymore you can't get
public help
you've got to go private what's happened
in australia is other types of pain and
medication have been restricted and
arguably for some good reasons like
codeine opiates and i think that's why
lyrica has taken the space pfizer was
part of a lie amy started the lyrica
survivor group
she explains in the us pfizer has been
prosecuted over its marketing of lyrica
pfizer has paid some of the largest
fines in the industry they agreed to pay
2.3 billion
for health care fraud settlement they
were illegally marketing four different
drugs and lyrica fell under that
umbrella one criminal count stemming
from the improper promotion and is it is
it a case that these big pharma
companies go
we'll cop the fine because what we make
of it make from it is
worth it i would say that's very
accurate and
i could see that um
indicative of the numbers that you just
quoted in australia i mean the amount of
prescriptions has exploded when we
approached pfizer we received a one
sentence response saying it no longer
owned lyrica we were directed to a
company called beatrice it was created
late last year when a division of pfizer
merged with another pharmaceutical firm
despite pfizer trying to distance itself
from lyrica its branding is still
plastered all over the box and even the
pills
[Music]
save kadari is a pharmacist
in the last three years the number of
lyrica scripts he's filled has more than
doubled
we went from just over 6 000
prescriptions
in total across all the strengths across
all our stores to just over 13 000
anyone on a
health care card or a pension card
can pick it up for you know six dollars
mr kadari says he's well seasoned at
spotting doctor shoppers they
try to come up with lots of excuses
sometimes they're sweating they're
nervous they're a bit anxious sometimes
what's your warning victoria is the only
state which has mandatory monitoring for
lyrica prescriptions there's no way for
us to really monitor exactly if they're
getting prescriptions elsewhere in
certain instances it would really help
us a lot and doctors too we as a medical
community but also the broader community
didn't think it was addictive didn't
think it was that dangerous we now get
taught that if you give someone a lyrica
almost expect them to take double the
amount you've given them when does
lyrica become so much of a problem that
you that the regulators will step in at
what point does it have to get to well i
think we're getting pretty close to it
now and you know we see from the
response here that i think we're very
close to it where does this end
i can't see light at the end of the
tunnel i really can't be careful
just be careful
[Music]
brave people for talking and if you or
someone you know needs help there's
support available contact lifeline the
number is on your screen now
13114 that's 131114
you
 

 

 

 

So close to the end!!!

🏁

Current from 16 October 2021:  Pristiq 0.005mg

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering Oct 2015 

My full tapering program     My Intro (goes to my tapering graph)    My website

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions.  I do not provide tapering advice via PM.  Please post questions in your Introduction topic.  Please do not tag me for any reason.  I am an unpaid volunteer and assist members if I am able to and when I have the time.  Thank you for your understanding.

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