Pregabalin is an anticonvulsant drug, used to treat symptoms of epilepsy and neuropathic pain. It works by affecting pain messages travelling through the nerves to the brain, and by altering electrical activity in the brain.
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What is Pregabalin?
Pregabalin is an anticonvulsant drug. It’s used to treat a variety of symptoms, including partial onset seizures caused by epilepsy, mental health conditions such as generalised anxiety disorder and neuropathic pain.
Neuropathic pain is pain caused by damage to the body’s nervous system. It is often a chronic condition, that causes persistent pain symptoms. Neuropathic pain usually develops gradually over an extended period of time, and is not usually caused by just one factor - potential factors include spinal cord injury and long-term alcoholism. Pregabalin can help ease the pain caused by this.
Pregabalin comes as capsules or as a liquid oral solution. It is a prescription only medicine, and you must have a prescription from your doctor before you buy it. Alternatively, we can prescribe it to you following an online assessment. Pregabalin is available as a generic medication and also under the brand name Lyrica.
For further information, please review the patient information leaflet here.
How it works
The way in which Pregabalin works is not fully understood. It’s thought that it works by affecting neurotransmitters responsible for carrying pain signals. By reducing the release of these neurotransmitters, Pregabalin can help manage nerve pain.
Anticonvulsants take time before they can begin to improve nerve pain. It usually takes Pregabalin several weeks to begin working properly, so you won’t feel an improvement in your neuropathic pain immediately.
Before you take it
Pregabalin may contain sodium. If you are on a controlled diet, or you have any kind of renal impairment, speak with your doctor before you take Pregabalin as it may be unsuitable for you. Pregabalin may also contain gelatin, making it unsuitable for vegans or vegetarians.
There have been instances of people experiencing heart or kidney failure while taking Pregabalin. These cases are rare, but you should inform your doctor if you have any kind of heart or kidney problem before you start taking Pregabalin.
If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, it is important that you do not take Pregabalin before first speaking with a doctor. There is no firm evidence that Pregabalin may affect the development of an unborn baby, but you are advised only to take it if prescribed. Your doctor will decide whether the benefits of taking Pregabalin during pregnancy outweigh the risks.
It’s important that due to the reason stated above, you continue to use effective contraception when taking Pregabalin, as if you become pregnant you may have to stop taking it. Pregabalin will not affect hormonal contraception in women.
Small amounts of Pregabalin may pass into breast milk. It is unknown as to whether this poses a risk of harm to your baby. You should speak with your doctor to discuss whether Pregabalin is suitable for you if you are breastfeeding, as an alternative medicine may be more appropriate.
Treatment with Pregabalin may cause drowsiness or dizziness in some patients. You should refrain from driving or operating heavy machinery until you are fully aware of how this medicine affects you.
It’s possible for Pregabalin to cause weight gain in diabetic patients. If this happens to you, it may mean that your diabetes medication needs to be adjusted. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Talk to your doctor before taking Pregabalin if you have a history of drug abuse, if you are allergic to Pregabalin or any other anticonvulsant medication, if you have heart or kidney trouble, diabetes or depression. Pregabalin may be unsuitable for you.
Pregabalin can cause severe withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking it suddenly. For this reason, you should never stop taking your medication unless your doctor has specifically told you to. Withdrawal symptoms include nausea, pain, sweating, anxiety and insomnia.
Pregabalin may interact with other drugs. You should ask your pharmacist or your doctor before taking Pregabalin if you are taking any of the following:
- Oxycodone for pain relief
- Lorazepam for anxiety treatment
- Medicines to treat allergies
- Sleeping pills of any kind
- Medicines used to treat psychiatric disorders
You should take Pregabalin exactly as prescribed by your doctor or pharmacist. Do not exceed the stated dose.
Pregabalin is prescribed differently for different symptoms, and will depend entirely on your condition and its severity. The usual prescribed dose of Pregabalin is between 150 mg and 600 mg daily, divided into two or three doses.
For two doses per day, take one dose in the morning and one dose in the evening. For three doses, take one in the morning, one in the afternoon and one in the evening, all at roughly the same time. Pregabalin is for oral use only, to be taken through the mouth.
You should swallow Pregabalin with plenty of water. Swallow your Pregabalin capsules whole - do not crush, chew or suck them. You can take Pregabalin with or without food.
Continue taking Pregabalin until your doctor advises you otherwise.
Common Side Effects of Pregabalin
It’s possible for Pregabalin to induce a serious allergic reaction in certain patients. This is rare, but any type of allergic reaction is an emergency, and you should call your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following:
- Skin redness, itching, swelling, blistering, peeling
- Trouble Breathing
- Tightness in the chest or throat
It’s also possible for Pregabalin to cause serious side effects in some patients. If you experience any of these, you should talk to your doctor right away. They include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Difficulty passing urine or stool
- Sweating or fever
- Dry eyes or eye swelling
- Painful menstrual periods
- Heart arrhythmia
- Coldness of hands and feet
- Hallucinations or abnormal dreams
Pregabalin may also cause more common, less serious side effects. These are usually mild to moderate in nature and usually go away on their own as your body becomes used to the medicine. However, if they persist or concern you in any way, speak with your doctor.
- Increased appetite
- Vertigo and balance problems
- Weight gain
- Cramp and joint pain
- Sore throat
This is not an exhaustive list of potential side effects caused by Pregabalin. Review the patient information leaflet for more information, or speak with your doctor for clarification.
Pregabalin is potentially addictive. If you are struggling with addiction to Pregabalin or any other substance, you can contact us or visit our addiction support page.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is Pregabalin safe for children?
Pregabalin is only for adults. Do not give it to children or anyone under the age of 18. We do not prescribe medications to anyone under the age of 18.
I’m pregnant. Can I take Pregabalin?
You should not take Pregabalin when pregnant. It is unknown as to whether Pregabalin affects an unborn baby. You should speak with your doctor to discuss alternative treatments for your neuropathic pain if you are pregnant or become pregnant while taking Pregabalin.
Will it affect my contraception?
No. Pregabalin will not affect any type of hormonal contraception in women.
What happens if I miss a dose?
If you miss your usual dose of Pregabalin, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is nearly time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your next dose as scheduled. Never take more than one dose at the same time, and never double up to make up for a missed dose.
What happens if I take too much?
A Pregabalin overdose can cause unpleasant adverse effects. You may experience more severe side effects than normal, including mood changes, dizziness, and hallucinations. If you believe you have taken too much Pregabalin, you should immediately tell your doctor, or go to your local A&E department or hospital to seek medical advice.
|Dosage Instructions||Please see medicine label for the dosage instructions.|