Pfizer's Lyrica, best known as a pain treatment for fibromyalgia, has been approved for use in treating "peripheral neuropathic" disorders — meaning those disorders affecting parts of the nervous system that transmit information from the central nervous system to every other part of the body and back again.
The drug has also undergone Phase II and Phase III studies for use in treating anxiety disorders, including the manic symptoms of bipolar disorder.
DrugDevelopmentTechnology.com explains that Lyrica offers more rapid relief from psychic symptoms than other antidepressants and was equally effective in "reducing somatic symptoms."
PharmaLive says Pfizer's anticonvulsant drug is effective in treating symptoms of pain disorders. The press release explains that Lyrica produces a pain-killing effect by blocking the release of some neurotransmitters in an "overexcited nervous system."
According to Consumer Reports, anticonvulsants have successfully been used to treat nerve pain, fibromyalgia, or other diseases that attack the nervous system (such as shingles). The website says the drugs, while expensive, show enough evidence of effectiveness to make them a good value for consumers.
A concern with drugs like Lyrica, and other anticonvulsants, is that patients who take the medication can develop suicidal tendencies. Patients taking Lyrica are advised to keep in close contact with their care providers.