What is lyrica (pregabalin)?: uses, dosage, and side effects

What is lyrica (pregabalin)?: uses, dosage, and side effects

One of the more common side effects is dizziness and drowsiness.

Lyrica is Pfizer's trade name for a drug called pregabalin. Pregabalin is an anticonvulsant (anti-seizure) drug.

Lyrica is used to treat a number of symptoms and conditions; it works by slowing impulses across the brain that are involved in seizures. It also affects chemicals involved in pain signals.

Here we will explore the most common uses for the drug, as well as the potential side effects. We will also explain dosage, and the potential risk for abuse.

  • Uses are primarily epilepsy, fibromyalgia, and neuropathic pain.
  • Common side effects include drowsiness and fatigue.
  • Pregbalin interacts badly with some drugs, including opioids and alcohol.
  • Signs of overdose include increased heart rate.

What is Lyrica used to treat?

Commonly, Lyrica (pregabalin) has been approved in the United States to treat:

  • epilepsy
  • diabetic neuropathy pain
  • post-herpetic neuralgia (pain after shingles)

In addition, pregabalin has been approved in the U.S to treat fibromyalgia, a condition where there is pain in muscles and connective tissue as well as widespread pain and a heightened and painful response to touch.

The E.U. also uses Lyrica to treat generalized anxiety disorder, but other drugs are used for this in the U.S.

Side effects and precautions of Lyrica

Lyrica has the following side effects:

  • Dizziness - the most common side effect of pregabalin is dizziness or drowsiness.
  • Vision issues - although less common than dizziness, some patients experience visual problems.
  • Muscle problems - some patients experience a lack of coordination in muscle movements, disorder of speech, and tremor.
  • Other side effects - lethargy, memory problems, euphoria, constipation, dry mouth, peripheral swelling, loss of sex drive, erectile dysfunction, and weight gain are sometimes experienced.

Other much less common side effects include:

  • depression and suicidal thoughts
  • confusion
  • agitation
  • hallucinations
  • muscle twitching
  • change in sensitivity to touch
  • increased heart rate
  • excessive salivating
  • sweating
  • redness
  • rash
  • muscle cramps
  • muscle and joint pain
  • urinary problems
  • kidney stones

A very low number of patients experience low neutrophil (type of white blood cell) levels, heart block, blood pressure changes, inflammation of the pancreas, difficulty swallowing, halt in urine production, or a breakdown in skeletal muscle tissue.

People with the following conditions should tell their doctor before taking Lyrica:

  • congestive heart failure
  • kidney disease
  • diabetes
  • blood disorders
  • history of mental illness
  • drug or alcohol addictions

If a woman falls pregnant while taking Lyrica, she should speak with her doctor to check whether it should be continued. It should not be taken while breast-feeding as it may pass into the mother's milk.

Men should use birth control when taking Lyrica as it can cause birth defects in his offspring.

Does Lyrica interact with other drugs?

The manufacturer of Lyrica warns of potential dangerous interactions with the following drugs:

  • Opioids - including drugs like morphine, fentanyl, and remifentanil.
  • Benzodiazepines - such as alprazolam, clonazepam, and diazepam.
  • Barbiturates - such as phenobarbital, secobarbital, brallobarbital.
  • Alcohol.
  • Any drugs that depress the central nervous system.

Potential for abuse

There is some potential for abuse with Lyrica, with overdoses reported in some studies.

Although the likelihood is low, patients may become dependent on pregabalin and experience withdrawal effects after using the drug for an extended period.

Lyrica has some potential for abuse. An article in the Emergency Medicine Journal provided some results of a study on recreational abuse.

The published results stated, "Dosages ranged from 500-1,400 milligrams. Six patients presented with seizures (five of which were 'first' seizures). Two patients required intubation and ventilation and were admitted to the ICU".

As a result, there are notable precautions for Lyrica. Dosage and side effects should be monitored closely.

Lyrica (pregabalin): Side Effects and Dosing (Video Medical And Professional 2020).

Section Issues On Medicine: Medical practice