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Lyrica Patient Tips

Medically reviewed on Aug 21, 2017 by C. Fookes, BPharm

How it works

  • Lyrica is a brand (trade) name for pregabalin. Lyrica may be used in the treatment of some seizure disorders and also for the control of nerve pain.
  • Research has shown that Lyrica binds strongly to a specific site (called the alpha2-delta site) on voltage-gated calcium channels. This action is thought to be the mechanism for its nerve-pain relieving and anti-seizure properties.

Upsides

  • May be used to treat nerve pain associated with diabetes, shingles infection, and spinal cord injuries.
  • May be used in addition to other medications for the treatment of partial-onset seizures.
  • May be used in the management of fibromyalgia.
  • Appears to have few drug interactions, although a compounding of side effects (such as sedation) may be seen if Lyrica is used with other drugs with similar side effects.

Downsides

If you are between the ages of 18 and 60, take no other medication or have no other medical conditions, side effects you are more likely to experience include:

  • May cause dizziness, drowsiness, and affect a person's ability to drive or operate machinery. Alcohol should be avoided.
  • May cause edema (fluid retention), particularly in the feet or hands. This may be noticed as weight gain, although weight gain can occur independently of fluid retention. Rarely, may cause potentially life-threatening angioedema (a swelling of the face, mouth or neck). People taking other medications that have also been associated with angioedema (such as ACE inhibitors) may be more at risk.
  • Other side effects include a headache, tremor, abnormal thinking, dry mouth, constipation, blurred vision, lack of energy, changes in some laboratory test results, and ECG changes.
  • The dosage of Lyrica needs reducing in people with kidney disease.
  • Similar to other medicines used to treat seizures, Lyrica increases the risk of depression and suicidal thoughts.
  • Avoid abrupt or rapid discontinuation as discontinuation symptoms (including insomnia, nausea, headache, anxiety, increased sweating and diarrhea) have been reported. Taper dosage down gradually on a doctor's advice over a minimum of one week.
  • There is currently no generic version of Lyrica available in the United States.

Notes: In general, seniors or children, people with certain medical conditions (such as liver or kidney problems, heart disease, diabetes, seizures) or people who take other medications are more at risk of developing a wider range of side effects. For a complete list of all side effects, click here.

Bottom Line

Lyrica can help relieve nerve pain and control seizures but it is likely to cause drowsiness.

Tips

  • May be taken with or without food.
  • Do not stop abruptly; discontinue slowly over at least a week under your doctor's supervision. The exception is if you notice any facial or neck swelling, shortness of breath, or a skin rash then discontinue Lyrica immediately and seek urgent medical advice.
  • Do not drive or operate machinery if Lyrica makes your drowsy or impairs your judgment.
  • Notify your doctor if vision changes occur, if you experience unusual muscle pain or weakness, or if you are unexpectedly gaining weight.
  • Talk to your doctor if you experience any worsening of your mood or develop suicidal thoughts.
  • If you are planning to father a child, be aware that an association between Lyrica and birth defects has been reported in some animal studies.

Response and Effectiveness

  • Peak concentrations occur within 1.5 hours and effects last for approximately eight hours. Full anti-seizure or nerve-pain relieving effects may take several weeks to develop, although some people may experience some relief during the first week of taking Lyrica.

References

Lyrica (pregabalin) [Package Insert]. Revised 12/2016. Parke-Davis Div of Pfizer Inc. https://www.drugs.com/pro/lyrica.html

  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use Lyrica only for the indication prescribed.

  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that this information is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. This drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. It is an informational resource designed as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Drugs.com does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of this information. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2017 Drugs.com. Revision Date: 2017-08-20 21:44:03

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