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Lyrica: what it is for and side effects

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Lyrica is the brand name of an anticonvulsant drug whose active component is pregabalin, a drug that is prescribed for those who suffer from epilepsy and other types of ailments. However, its use has been extended to certain conditions in which it is not recommended, and may even put the patient’s life at risk. In this FastlyHealarticle we will talk about this drug, explaining everything you need to know about Lyrica, what it is for and what its side effects are.

What is Lyrica for

Lyrica (or pregabalin, which is its active principle) is a drug that exerts its action on the central nervous system, reducing the excitability of neurons to certain stimuli. Thanks to this action, Lyrica is usually indicated as an anticonvulsant in patients suffering from epilepsy , and as an analgesic in patients suffering from neuropathic pain (caused by nerve damage) such as those caused by diabetes or herpes zoster . One of its main indications also includes generalized anxiety disorders , which is characterized by excessive and prolonged worries.

However, the drug became popular to treat diseases for which its use was not approved by the relevant institutions because they believe that while Lyrica can alleviate the symptoms of these conditions, the risks often outweigh the benefit of its use. Some of these uses are as follows:

  • Fibromyalgia (approved for use in the United States, but not in Europe)
  • Lumbar pain
  • Prevention of postoperative pain
  • Migraine prevention
  • Restless Leg Syndrome
  • Essential tremor
  • Hot flushes

In some situations the use of Lyrica for these conditions is reasonable, but they should never be considered first-line drugs; its use is reserved for when other medications are contraindicated or ineffective.

Recommended doses of Lyrica

In cases of epilepsy, neuropathic pain and generalized anxiety, its intake can generally vary between 150, 300 and 600 milligrams per day , depending on the results obtained and the patient’s tolerance The dose should always be adjusted to each patient.

It is not necessary to make a dose modification of Lyrica for patients with hepatic impairment, but on the other hand, the dose must be adjusted in patients with renal impairment.

Contraindications to the use of Lyrica

  • If the patient has hypersensitivity (allergic reaction) to the use of Lyrica, its use should be avoided.
  • As there is not much evidence on the excretion of Lyrica in breast milk and its effects on a nursing baby or growing fetus, its use by women during lactation and pregnancy should be avoided .
  • It should be handled with care in patients with heart problems or suicidal tendencies , as the use of Lyrica can aggravate these situations.

Side effects from using Lyrica

The amount of adverse reactions that Lyrica can cause is quite wide , and that is why the doctor should make a good assessment before indicating its use.

  • The most common adverse reactions are dizziness and drowsiness , which also cause fatigue, blurred vision, and disturbances of balance. This can be a problem for elderly patients , as it can lead to an increase in accidents.
  • One of the most dangerous adverse reactions of Lyrica is hypersensitivity (allergy) , which causes an inflammation of the face, lips, tongue, gums and throat, which can endanger the life of the patient.
  • The psychiatric disorders are also very important because they can produce suicidal thoughts and self – harmful behavior during the first 24 weeks of use. Other psychiatric disorders that it can produce are depression, mood swings, euphoria, condition and irritability.
  • Gastric problems are quite common, because Lyrica causes a decrease in gastrointestinal function. This can lead to blockage, constipation, vomiting, and increased appetite.
  • In elderly patients, congestive heart failure and cardiac arrhythmia may be evident . Its prescription should be avoided when heart problems are suspected.
  • Lyrica can produce dependence and therefore abuse of its consumption. Likewise, withdrawal syndrome is common when withdrawing the drug suddenly.
  • Lyrica makes you fat, it is common to gain weight when consuming Lyrica. This can be a problem for diabetic patients , since a modification of the dose of hypoglycemic agents may be necessary.

The rest of the list of adverse reactions for Lyrica is extensive, but among the most common we have:

  • Headache
  • Dry mouth
  • Edema of arms and legs
  • Weight gain
  • Tremors
  • Memory impairment
  • Erectile dysfunction

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Lyrica: what it is for and side effects , we recommend that you enter our category of Medication and medical tests .

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