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Lyrica is Pfizer’s trade name for a drug called pregabalin. Pregabalin is an anticonvulsant, or 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.
This article looks at the most common uses for the drug, the potential side effects and the risk of abuse.
Fast facts on Lyrica (pregabalin):
Uses are primarily epilepsy, fibromyalgia, and neuropathic pain.
Common side effects include drowsiness and fatigue.
Pregabalin interacts badly with some drugs, including opioids and alcohol.
Signs of overdose include increased heart rate.
One of the more common side effects is dizziness and drowsiness.
Commonly, Lyrica (pregabalin) has been approved in the United States to treat:
diabetic neuropathy pain
post-herpetic neuralgia (pain after shingles)
Fibromyalgia is a condition involving widespread pain, pain in the muscles and connective tissue, and a heightened and painful response to touch.
In the European Union, pregabalin is used to treat generalized anxiety disorder, but other drugs are used for this in the U.S.
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 problems: Lethargy, memory problems, euphoria, constipation, dry mouth, peripheral swelling, loss of sex drive, erectile dysfunction, and weight gain are sometimes experienced.
Less commonly, there may be:
depression and suicidal thoughts
change in sensitivity to touch
increased heart rate
muscle and joint pain
A very low number of patients experience low neutrophil levels, heart block, blood pressure changes, inflammation of the pancreas, difficulty swallowing, halt in urine production, or a breakdown in skeletal muscle tissue. Neutrophils are a type of white blood cell.
People with the following conditions should tell their doctor before taking Lyrica:
congestive heart failure
history of mental illness
drug or alcohol addictions
If a woman becomes 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.