Lyrica, which is generically known as pregabalin is an anticonvulsant that works by delaying the brain impulses that cause seizures. Additionally, Lyrica slows down or temporarily eliminates “pain messages” in the nervous system.
Why is Lyrica Prescribed
As it is an anti-epileptic or anticonvulsant, Lyrica is often given to people who have epilepsy or another seizure disorder in order to control their seizures. Since Lyrica has also been found to be effective in stopping nerve pain, it is provided as a pain relief for people who have fibromyalgia. People with diabetes or neuropathic pain from spinal cord injury may often experience nerve pain, and Lyrica may be given to control the pain.
Risks of taking Lyrica
If you have personal or family history of mental illness, suicide attempts, or mood disorders, you should take note that you may have increased suicidal thoughts. As such your doctor will likely schedule routine doctor’s appointments to check your status. Keep these appointments.
If you experience any of the following symptoms, you should let your doctor know:
• Mood changes
• Increased hostility
• Thoughts of suicide or hurting yourself
If you are prescribed Lyrica to control your seizures, it’s important to keep taking it even if you feel okay. Stopping medication suddenly could cause the brain to become “confused” and you will go through withdrawal. If you are instructed to go off of Lyrica, do so with the assistance of your doctor. He/She will likely provide you with a medicinal decrease plan that will involve weaning you off of the medication, or decreasing your dose gradually over a period of time.
If you take Lyrica, you should wear a medical bracelet alerting medical professionals that you have a seizure disorder or take a seizure medication.
What do I need to tell my doctor before taking Lyrica?
You should always advise your doctor of any and all medications that you are taking. Additionally, as suicidal thoughts are a side effect, you should alert your doctor if you have a family or personal history of depression, suicide attempt, or mental disorder.
Advise your doctor if you have CHF (congestive heart failure), low platelets in your blood, drug or alcohol addiction, or have ever had a severe allergic reaction in the past to make sure that Lyrica is safe for you to take.
What precautions do I need to take while taking Lyrica?
It is important that you take Lyrica just as your doctor prescribes it. Don’t double your dose or cut it in half. You should also not take it for a longer period of time than you are prescribed it.
Depending on how your stomach reacts to the medication, you can choose to take it with or without food.
If you are taking Lyrica in order to control your seizures, you should take the medication even if you feel okay. You also shouldn’t go off of Lyrica without discussing it with your doctor and creating a plan to gradually cut down your medication. You may experience withdrawal symptoms including irritability, insomnia, headache, and nausea.
You should avoid alcohol when taking Lyrica as it can increase the side effects.
What are the most common side effects of taking Lyrica?
The most common side effects are:
• Drowsiness or dizziness
• Loss of equilibrium
• Inability to concentrate
• Dry mouth
If you experience any of the following symptoms, you should immediately contact your doctor:
• Rapid weight gain
• Hand swelling or foot swelling
• Increased bruising or bleeding
• Muscle pain or weakness
• Vision impairment
If you experience any side effect that is concerning to you, even if it is not mentioned above, bring it to your doctor’s attention.
3. Refer to Prescription drug information included with your medication. This is for informational purposes only. See Disclaimer below.