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Morbidly obese, 72 yo woman with back issues taking Lyrica. How to help her start paleo?

Answered on July 17, 2015
Created October 09, 2011 at 5:44 PM

Please help me hack my friend. Anyone have insight as to how Lyrica causes weight gain? Does it increase appetite? Slow metabolism? Cause problems with conversion of food? I can't find a straight answer from any searches. She seems to think that all hope is lost, that she won't ever be able to lose weight since she's on this drug. Right now it's a vicious cycle: her back hurts because she's carrying around so much excess weight (300 extra pounds maybe?), she started taking Lyrica for the pain and for migraines, and now the Lyrica is putting on even more weight, causing even more pain. Bottom line is that the weight needs to come off. I'd love to be able to talk to her about this from a scientific perspective and give her some insight and hope. Slowly introduce the concept of paleo to her - at the very least ditch the grains that are supposedly so healthy. She wants to change but there's a lot of fear of pain, plus that age group doesn't question the "authority" of doctors. If I can give her some scientific evidence, that might help. Any other tips for helping her actually start paelo with baby-steps (not cold turkey) would be welcome as well. Thanks-

F1b82cc7e6d90384ad30007dd6c1b9e3

(1187)

on October 11, 2011
at 12:28 PM

why the minus ??????? Do tell.

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 10, 2011
at 12:30 PM

We aim to please! Good luck with it!

7724ecd25cd6458400a6fc55e38ccf2d

(10)

on October 10, 2011
at 03:26 AM

Great reviews on Amazon and woohoo! Public library has the book! Thank you again!

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on October 09, 2011
at 11:17 PM

BTW, one thing that might help is to explain that many people attribute weight gain to the fact that modern Western food overrides our normal appetite mechanism and also messes up our metabolism (mostly because Western food has too many calories and too few nutrients. The point of the paleo diet is that if we eat closer to the way our ancestors would have, our bodies will respond in a more healthful way. And you can tell her there are folks on this board who have lost more than 100 lbs, some of whom are older women.

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on October 09, 2011
at 11:13 PM

I meant nutrient-dense foods mostly, especially sources of fat-soluble vitamins (eggs, liver, butter, avocado). It'd be great to have to food be pastured or local. For the first few days, I'd focus more on weaning her off the NADs, but I wouldn't initially try and restrict carbs too much.

7724ecd25cd6458400a6fc55e38ccf2d

(10)

on October 09, 2011
at 11:02 PM

thanks for the links!

7724ecd25cd6458400a6fc55e38ccf2d

(10)

on October 09, 2011
at 11:00 PM

You are right about the cycle and the physical and emotional pain. I'll suggest to her the 7-10 day trial, and get her daughter to be the chef. Which nutrients do you suggest increasing? B's? D, omega 3?

7724ecd25cd6458400a6fc55e38ccf2d

(10)

on October 09, 2011
at 10:57 PM

Yes, she cooks for herself, and the doctors just tell her to eat whole grains, fruit, vegetables and lean meat in moderation. The drum doctors beat isn't working.

7724ecd25cd6458400a6fc55e38ccf2d

(10)

on October 09, 2011
at 10:55 PM

Thanks for your insight about the Lyrica. Glad to know you were able to break the pain chain - I will look it up!

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7 Answers

1
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 09, 2011
at 08:47 PM

I not sure how much help I can be but I can offer my experience and one possible suggestion. I've been on Lyrica since late last year for peripheral neuropathy (non-diabetic, idiopathic) and was previously quasi-paleo then went full paleo in June and have dropped 11 pounds in that time. So weight gain is not necessarily a factor and weight loss is possible on Lyrica, at least for me. Whatever I'm doing seems to have arrested the progress of the neuropathy but I'm now working with an autoimmune specialist to try to reverse this as much as possible and get off the Lyrica, which is my number one goal. But on to your situation...

Back pain is an off-label usage of Lyrica so if that's her only problem I can suggest a book by Pete Egoscue called "Pain Free" that was more effective in the first week than all the doctors, chiropractors, acupuncturists, pills and epidural injections in the whole previous year. I had a growing back problem on and off for the about 15 years but in 08 it hit with a vengeance that was debilitating. The exercises in this book are mostly a series of stretches and positions that even the aged and over-weight can do. I stuck with these exercises for several months and eventually got to where my back is pretty much normal. Several weeks ago I unloaded 1300 pounds of tile (for our bathroom remodel) out of my truck and two years ago that would have been unthinkable. Read the reviews on Amazon. I'm betting she can get off the Lyrica. I'm also doing bone broth which I am hoping will help to mend degenerating discs. Too soon to say for sure, but I'm beginning to think it's having a positive effect.

EDIT - and let me add that my wife who has also had back problems does these exercises with the same excellent results.

7724ecd25cd6458400a6fc55e38ccf2d

(10)

on October 10, 2011
at 03:26 AM

Great reviews on Amazon and woohoo! Public library has the book! Thank you again!

7724ecd25cd6458400a6fc55e38ccf2d

(10)

on October 09, 2011
at 10:55 PM

Thanks for your insight about the Lyrica. Glad to know you were able to break the pain chain - I will look it up!

77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on October 10, 2011
at 12:30 PM

We aim to please! Good luck with it!

1
6229cd9a7ca9882590259fae022e2647

(3209)

on October 09, 2011
at 06:04 PM

Is she still cooking and doing for herself?

Ask her how following her doc's guidelines have worked for her so far? She is morbidly obese and in pain.

Also point out how much better she felt yrs ago when she was eating good quality food.

7724ecd25cd6458400a6fc55e38ccf2d

(10)

on October 09, 2011
at 10:57 PM

Yes, she cooks for herself, and the doctors just tell her to eat whole grains, fruit, vegetables and lean meat in moderation. The drum doctors beat isn't working.

0
D71d417b7adfb093aaecb98951b2d8d6

on July 17, 2015
at 08:48 AM

First hand experience here. 

 

Gabapentin /pregabalin causes massive weight gain, most of it is water weight. However, due to the change in osmotic pressure in interstitial tissue, it doesn't usually go down after stopping medication without decompression therapy. 

These meds also gave me low back pain!!! As well as calf pain. For me, this was due to the excessive fluid developing and causing pressure. 

 

recommend changing medications. 

Topamax -  used for migraines and it helped my neuropathy and causes weight loss in most people. Helps stop addictive behaviour. 

Zonesamide - similar to topamax, my doctor said it's usually given to seniors

Lamictal - used mostly for neuropathy and pain, but I find it helps my migraines significantly. No change in weight for most people

Wellburtrin& low dose naltrexone - may not help migraines but will help back pain and cause weight loss. Helps stop binge behaviour and lowers appetite. Also technically a stimulant, but doctors don't treat it that way. 

AVOID :

Avoid- beta blockers -  causes weight gain in 5 different ways: reduces thyroid hormone production, reduces T4 to active T3 conversion, creates insulin resistance, changes metabolism of carbohydrates, lowers basal metabolic rate by lowering heart rate. 

Avoid-amitriptyline and Nortryptaline -  also known to cause massive weight gain. 

 

As for how to lose weight, decompression  therapy will help and compression apparel is going to be necessary. And assessing thyroid function might help. (new studies suggest weight loss is extremely difficult with a tsh over 1.5,and ideally a person wants to be between tsh 0.4-1.0 for weight loss. 

 

0
41dfb1a4fecb38d24075ff52f13ccb28

on October 09, 2011
at 09:54 PM

Reading this, my first thought isn't so much about her weight (which is also a problem), but instead "Get some nutrients into that woman!"

While I can't claim that it would be a cure-all by any stretch of the imagination, there is a connection between neuropathy (which is one of the things Lyrica is used for) and vitamin deficiencies - specifically B vitamins Also, as I've mentioned before, migraneurs tend to be deficient in magnesium (See here and here and here).

The weight needs to come off, yes. But right now what I'm seeing in this woman is severe nutrient deficiencies that need to be corrected - ideally through diet, but damn, get her on supplements if necessary.

ETA: Forgot second half of my post. I think maybe pointing out that these nutrients might be able to help her might see that something is going awry. I'm thinking she might just need a "trigger" (so to speak) to make her give some thought to a change.

7724ecd25cd6458400a6fc55e38ccf2d

(10)

on October 09, 2011
at 11:02 PM

thanks for the links!

0
7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on October 09, 2011
at 07:44 PM

This is a tough one. I'm kinda with Matt that it's likely that baby steps won't help her get sufficient benefit quickly enough. On the other hand, someone at that weight (speaking from experience here) likely has food issues and will find it difficult to get and stay off the NADs (both emotionally and physically). It's a vicious cycle of pain, eating to cope, leading to inflammation/weight gain and more pain.

And, not sure how to say this tactfully, at 72 and in pain, she may well be wanting to keep whatever comfort food is providing for her.

If she could eat paleo for 7-10 days, she might well start feeling good enough that she'd want to continue. But a lot of this depends on her energy level re food prep (and/or the person who preps the food). Eating processed food is pretty darn easy. Me, I'd focus initially less on weight loss and more on increasing nutrients and trying to minimize sugar, veggie oils, and wheat.

7724ecd25cd6458400a6fc55e38ccf2d

(10)

on October 09, 2011
at 11:00 PM

You are right about the cycle and the physical and emotional pain. I'll suggest to her the 7-10 day trial, and get her daughter to be the chef. Which nutrients do you suggest increasing? B's? D, omega 3?

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on October 09, 2011
at 11:17 PM

BTW, one thing that might help is to explain that many people attribute weight gain to the fact that modern Western food overrides our normal appetite mechanism and also messes up our metabolism (mostly because Western food has too many calories and too few nutrients. The point of the paleo diet is that if we eat closer to the way our ancestors would have, our bodies will respond in a more healthful way. And you can tell her there are folks on this board who have lost more than 100 lbs, some of whom are older women.

7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on October 09, 2011
at 11:13 PM

I meant nutrient-dense foods mostly, especially sources of fat-soluble vitamins (eggs, liver, butter, avocado). It'd be great to have to food be pastured or local. For the first few days, I'd focus more on weaning her off the NADs, but I wouldn't initially try and restrict carbs too much.

0
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on October 09, 2011
at 06:03 PM

Few reasons not to start an incremental implementation of paleo. Whole foods, minimally processed to start. Ditch the crappy fats to get PUFAs in balance. Gluten-free obviously is best, but I think minimizing gluten intake is effective as well. If she can get some results on "50%" paleo, then she will be much more inclined to go "80%" or "99%" paleo in the future.

Lyrica acts on the CNS, so all sorts of things it could be mucking around with. I'm inclined to think it's not the root cause of the weight gain though.

-1
F1b82cc7e6d90384ad30007dd6c1b9e3

(1187)

on October 09, 2011
at 09:36 PM

Fat cells create inflammation so that will contribute to her pain. I read an inexpensive book called Brain Wave Vibration. It is a series of "shaking" exercises that can be performed easily by anyone. It is very soothing and can get her started, then her spirits will be up so she can work on a paleo introduction.

F1b82cc7e6d90384ad30007dd6c1b9e3

(1187)

on October 11, 2011
at 12:28 PM

why the minus ??????? Do tell.

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