Lyrica is a common prescription medication that is used to treat pain due to nerve damage. This medication can treat pain that occurs due to a variety of diseases, including diabetes, shingles, spinal cord injury, fibromyalgia, and others. This drug can be highly beneficial for many individuals, and if you use Medicare, you will most likely be covered for the cost of the medication.
What is Lyrica?
Lyrica is also known as pregabalin, which is the active ingredient in this medication. It is a schedule V prescription medication. Schedule V drugs are drugs that have only minor potential for abuse, but not as much potential as drugs listed as schedule I through schedule IV.
This medication works to help calm damaged or overactive nerves. When nerves become injured or overstimulated, they can send additional stimuli to the surrounding cells, including the muscle cells. These signals can then trigger an added and prolonged pain response, leading to chronic pain stemming from the nerves.
Lyrica does not provide instant pain relief. Doses must begin to accumulate in the body for a therapeutic effect to become apparent. For some people, pain relief could be felt within one week of starting the medication, but it may take slightly longer for others. Pain relief may also be related to dosage. If you feel that your relief is inadequate, you should consult your doctor to see if a different and more frequent dosage might be more effective for your symptoms.
How to Take Lyrica and Side Effects
Lyrica must be taken between once and three times each day. No matter the frequency of your doses, you should make sure to take this medication at the same time each day if possible. This helps to increase the effectiveness of the medication. Also, if you happen to miss a dose, take it as soon as possible and then take the subsequent dose at the scheduled time. However, you should not take two doses at the same time to avoid any potential issues with toxicity.
There are two common side effects that can occur with Lyrica use: dizziness and sleepiness. On average, around 30 percent of people taking Lyrica experience dizziness and just over 20 percent experience sleepiness. In some cases, these symptoms may subside over the course of 1 to 10 weeks, but for others they may continue on a longer-term basis.
Do Medicare Benefits Cover Lyrica?
Lyrica is a brand name drug, and there is currently no generic medication available. This causes a Lyrica prescription to be quite costly. However, due to its FDA approval and effectiveness, this prescription medication is covered by most, if not all, Medicare insurance plans that include drug coverage.
If you have Original Medicare, you will have Part A and Part B at a minimum. If you wish to obtain coverage for Lyrica, you will also need to ensure you have a Medicare Part D plan. Part D is specifically for prescription medications. You will be responsible for paying your monthly Part D premium payments and all costs out of pocket until you hit your annual deductible.
Once you reach your deductible, you may also need to pay either a copayment, which is a flat fee each time you fill your prescription, or a coinsurance payment, which is a percentage of the total cost of the medication with each refill.
Your Medicare benefits can also cover Lyrica if you have a Medicare Advantage (MA) Plan with prescription drug coverage. These MA plans are obtained through private insurance companies, and many of them include prescription drug coverage. Depending on the specific Medicare Advantage Plan you have, you may be required to pay a monthly premium payment, out of pocket up to your deductible, and a copayment or coinsurance payment like Part D. Medicare Advantage Plans are structured differently than Original Medicare, so it is important to evaluate your options and needs in order to find the most cost-effective plan for you.