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Pregabalin Patient Tips

Written by C. Fookes, BPharm on Jul 10, 2017.

How it works

  • Pregabalin is thought to exert its effect by binding to voltage-gated calcium channels to modulate the influx of calcium into nerves of the central nervous system. This inhibits the release of neurotransmitters such as dopamine, glutamate, norepinephrine, serotonin, substance P, and others.
  • As well as having anticonvulsant activity, pregabalin is also thought to affect pain transmission pathways.
  • Pregabalin does not bind to GABA or benzodiazepine receptors, even though it is structurally related to GABA.


  • Pregabalin exhibits both nerve-pain relieving and anticonvulsant activity.
  • Used as an anticonvulsant in addition to other anticonvulsants for the treatment of partial onset seizures.
  • May be used in the treatment of neuropathic pain associated with diabetes or spinal cord injury.
  • Indicated for the treatment of fibromyalgia and postherpetic neuralgia (nerve pain that occurs following shingles).
  • May be used off-label for generalized anxiety disorder, hot flashes, restless legs syndrome and social anxiety disorder.
  • The dosage of pregabalin does not need adjusting in people with liver disease.


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:

  • Edema, dizziness, drowsiness, ataxia (the loss of control of body movements), headache, fatigue, dry mouth, tremor, double vision and weight gain are the main side effects reported.
  • Sudden discontinuation has been associated with symptoms such as anxiety, diarrhea, headache, increased sweating, sleeplessness, nausea, and increased seizure frequency (in those taking pregabalin for partial onset seizures). Taper off slowly over at least one week.
  • The dosage of pregabalin should be reduced in renal disease.
  • May interact with a number of drugs particularly those that also have a CNS depressant effect (such as azelastine, antidepressants, antipsychotics, benzodiazepines and opioid analgesics).
  • May not be suitable for some people including those with cardiovascular disease or kidney disease.

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

Pregabalin is used in the treatment of nerve pain and also as an anticonvulsant. Drowsiness or dizziness are common side effects.


  • Pregabalin may be taken with or without food.
  • May interfere with your ability to drive or operate machinery or perform other hazardous tasks. Alcohol may enhance this effect.
  • See a doctor urgently if you develop any allergy-type symptoms, unexplained bruising or shortness of breath, thoughts about suicide, visual disturbances, or unexplained muscle pain.
  • May cause you to gain weight. Talk to your doctor about exercising and make sure you don't consume more calories than you need.

Response and Effectiveness

Peak concentrations of pregabalin are reached within one and a half hours on an empty stomach or three hours with food. A reduction in seizure frequency or a relief from nerve pain may occur within a week of starting therapy.



  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use pregabalin 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. 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 1996-2018 Revision Date: 2017-07-10 20:41:16