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Cymbalta and Lyrica pills

Treat us right: Comparing Cymbalta and Lyrica in the fibromyalgia community

At PatientsLikeMe, we strive to put the interests of you, the patient, first in everything we do.  After all, you are the customers of the healthcare industry, and you deserve to have a say about the products and services created for you. Unfortunately, your needs and opinions often haven’t had the influence on the decision-making processes of insurance companies and pharmaceutical manufacturers.  Medical providers have often underserved you in favor of competing interests and more revenue. The good news is times are changing.  Your voice, the patient voice, is coming to the forefront, where it should be.  Every day new companies approach us asking, “How can I connect with patients?  I need to know what they think and what they’re feeling.  I want to improve their health outcomes.”  These are the partners we want to work with because they are committed to using your insights to change the very nature of healthcare.  And their numbers are growing. Here are two examples of how you have already impacted their decisions: How do we make this treatment easy for patients to use? A pharmaceutical manufacturer approached us with several options for a new drug’s packaging.  Over 650 of you spoke up in …

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Treat Us Right: Comparing Cymbalta and Lyrica in the Fibromyalgia Community

Since its launch in November 2008, our PatientsLikeMe Fibromyalgia Community has served as a place for more than 11,000 fibromyalgia patients to share with, find, and learn from others.  Over the past 2 years, thousands of you have reported using Pfizer’s Lyrica® and Eli Lilly’s Cymbalta® as prescribed treatments for your fibromyalgia. PatientsLikeMe recently analyzed the experiences you’ve shared in our Fibromyalgia Community about Lyrica and Cymbalta.  Here are three key insights we learned: Many of you experience little efficacy from either treatment. More than 40% of Lyrica patients and 50% of Cymbalta patients on our site perceive slight to no efficacy or simply cannot tell.  By comparison, only 20% of Lyrica patients and 15% of Cymbalta patients on our site perceive major efficacy. Those of you using Cymbalta experience fewer side effects than those of you using Lyrica. 26% of Cymbalta patients on our site report no side effects, versus 16% for Lyrica. Additionally, 29% of Lyrica patients on our site report severe side effects, versus 19% for Cymbalta. It is not surprising that more Lyrica patients than Cymbalta patients discontinue treatment and do so more quickly. Many of you attribute weight gain to Lyrica. In fact, of all …

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Treat Us Right: Mapping What Patients Think About Medications

One of the ways we can better understand whether you, as patients, are having a positive or negative treatment experience is to “listen” to the conversation you’re having in our forum.  By understanding whether you are having a positive, negative, or neutral experience with a particular treatment you are taking or are considering taking, we can measure the impact of different events on the overall community. For example, in 2008 we measured the impact on our multiple sclerosis community of a corporate announcement by Biogen about a serious and sometimes fatal side effect of Tysabri (occurs in about 1 in 1000 patients).  The results revealed that patients were indeed frightened by the announcement, but these patients were also so positive about Tysabri’s benefits, that most planned to continue taking the medication regardless of the risk. Visualizing Perception of Sentiment We visualize movement in your sentiment via perceptual maps and longitudinal bar charts.  The perceptual map here shows how patient perception (indicated via forum conversations in one disease community) is moving regarding different medications over four periods of time. (Note: each color represents one medication;  the shading represents the change of perception over time with the darkest shade being most recent).  …

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Treat Us Right: Comparing our Community to the General Population

Our recent series entitled Share and Compare focused on how patients like you can better answer the question, “How do I put my experience in context?” The answer, in part, comes from how much information you share to help create that context of real-world patient experiences.  Think of it this way – with every piece of information you share, you are contributing directly to research. When we’re conducting research, one of the things we look at is how similar or different you are to the populations at large.  We even have minimum criteria for a person’s data to be usable.  For example, if you indicate whether you’re male or female, you make it that much easier in determining how you “fit in.”  That one piece of information helps us know if our population is in fact representative of a disease, or whether we’re only getting one specific type of patient (e.g., males with fibromyalgia who don’t have much pain).  If we do get more of one type of patient, it becomes more difficult to draw any conclusions from that population and apply them to the general public. So, you may be wondering why we need to compare to the published literature/general public?  …

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6 Treatment Options for Rheumatoid Arthritis

If you’ve been living with rheumatoid arthritis, you know that the symptoms can be unpredictable. You may feel good one day and have a flare-up the next. It’s not possible to eliminate RA symptoms, but several treatment options are available that can help you manage them.   The first line of treatment for rheumatoid arthritis is usually medication. However, physical and occupational therapy can also be effective for symptom management and improving quality of life. Surgery can help reduce pain and improve functioning.  Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)  Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are one of the most common treatment options for RA. They can help relieve RA pain, swelling, and inflammation. NSAIDs do not change the course of the disease or prevent joint destruction and are often used in conjunction with disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDS).  NSAIDs work on a chemical level in the body. They block cyclooxygenase (COX), an enzyme the body uses to make naturally occurring fatty acids called prostaglandins that play a role in pain and inflammation. Most NSAIDs block COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes, while some only block COX-2. These are known as COX-2 inhibitors.   Common NSAIDs include aspirin, ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), and naproxen (Aleve). Many NSAIDs are available over the counter and stronger ones are available as prescriptions.   Although NSAIDs are generally safe, they do have some side effects. These include:   Stomach …

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5 Causes of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the most common forms of arthritis, affecting 1.3 million adults in the United States. It’s an autoimmune disease, meaning the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells in the body instead of protecting them. A healthy immune system protects against germs and sends fighter cells to attack them. But with autoimmune diseases, the immune system treats normal cells like foreign cells and releases autoantibodies that attack healthy cells. Autoantibodies are antibodies that mistakenly target a person’s own tissue or organs. Experts are unsure about what causes autoimmune diseases, but one theory is that microorganisms like bacteria and viruses trigger changes that confuse the immune system.   When you have RA, the immune system sends antibodies to the lining of your joints. The antibodies then attack the tissue surrounding the joints. This causes soreness and inflammation in the layer of cells, called the synovium, that covers your joints. The synovium releases chemicals that can damage bones, cartilage, ligaments, and tendons. If left untreated, these chemicals can cause the joint to lose its shape and alignment. Over time, these chemicals can destroy the joint completely.   RA is 2.5 times more common in women than men. While it can develop at any age, it most commonly occurs in people between the ages of 20 and 50. Late-onset RA or elderly-onset RA occurs when it develops in people between the ages of 60 and 65.  Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include:  Joint stiffness that is often worse in the morning or after periods of inactivity  Joint pain …

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7 Ways to Deal with Emotional Exhaustion

No matter what you’ve faced this year, 2021 has been full of challenges and change. With one stressor after another, including the continuation of COVID-19 on top of pressures from a job, raising a family, or managing a chronic illness, you may be wondering what else you will have to face.  As adversities continue to come your way, you might start to feel more irritable and tired. You may notice an inability to concentrate or feeling less motivated than usual. You may even feel trapped or stuck. Know there’s nothing wrong with the way you’re feeling. You’re just emotionally exhausted. What is Emotional Exhaustion? Emotional exhaustion happens when you carry heavy emotions triggered by negative or challenging events in life that just never seem to end. This chain of events can leave you feeling worn out and drained. For many, emotional exhaustion builds up slowly over time. Some common symptoms of emotional exhaustion include: Lack of motivation Irritability Fatigue Feelings of hopelessness Changes in sleep Changes in appetite Headaches Difficulty concentrating More absences at work failure to meet deadlines What Causes Emotional Exhaustion? Life challenges are normal and are going to happen. But experiencing especially difficult challenges over an extended …

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How to Use Mindfulness to Manage Chronic Pain 

While it’s normal to feel pain from time to time, especially after an injury, chronic pain is different. When you have chronic pain, your body will continue to hurt months or even years after the initial injury or illness.   Feelings of pain stem from a series of messages that are sent through the nervous system. When you get injured or become sick, pain sensors in that area light up and send the message to the brain of the problem. The brain processes these signals and sends the message to the rest of the body that your hurt. With acute pain, the messages stop once the injury is repaired. But with chronic pain, the nerve signals continue to fire long after healing.  The Center for Disease Control reports that about 50.2 million adults in the United States live with chronic pain. Symptoms for chronic pain can range from mild to serve and may feel dull, achy, throbbing, sore, or stiff. If you have chronic pain, you may also feel fatigued, have difficulty sleeping, and experience changes in appetite.   Treatment for chronic pain depends on the root of the condition, like arthritis, back pain, or fibromyalgia. Until recently, the standard treatment for chronic pain was …

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Integrative Treatment for MS

Managing multiple sclerosis can be difficult, especially when it comes to choosing between different treatment options. You want a treatment plan that is going to help minimize your symptoms while being mindful of any side effects. All the while making sure that your mental health is being protected.  Many patients with MS use an integrative or complementary approach to manage their symptoms and reduce relapses. That’s because these approaches don’t just focus on the physical nature of MS, but the mental, emotional, and spiritual effects. The mind-body connection works both ways: although MS primarily affects the central nervous system, patients often experience mental and emotional symptoms such as anxiety and depression. Similarly, studies have shown that having a positive outlook can improve MS recovery and health.   What is integrative medicine?  Integrative medicine includes a full spectrum of physical factors, as well as emotional, mental, social, spiritual, and environmental factors that can influence someone’s health. It emphasizes a holistic, whole person view rather than a segmented one that only focuses on one aspect of managing a health condition. Integrative medicine uses appropriate, evidence-based therapeutic and lifestyle approaches to achieve optimal health and healing. It emphasizes the relationship between the patient and the healthcare provider(s) because this too can affect the healing process. …

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7 Things You Need to Know About Living with Lupus

After months or even years of experiencing symptoms like extreme fatigue, skin rashes, pain, or swelling in the joints, you finally got a diagnosis. It’s lupus. Because symptoms differ from person to person, can come and go, vary in intensity, and mimic symptoms of various other diseases, lupus can be difficult to diagnose. Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disorder where the immune system’s antibodies mistakenly attack the body’s healthy cells causing widespread inflammation. It can affect your joints, muscles, skin, and internal organs and affects about 1.5 million Americans. Despite the prevalence and severity of lupus, most people don’t know much about it. The lack of information can make living with lupus frustrating, difficult, and lonely. We connected with PLM members who have lupus to find out what it’s really like to live with lupus. Here are 7 things to know about living with lupus: 1.Your life will change Living with lupus is a difficult task. While you may have been experiencing symptoms for a while, once you receive a diagnosis and begin treatment, that’s when it becomes real. Your entire life will change. Those “simple pleasures in life”, like making a cup of coffee (or tea) in the morning, going …

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