Pregabalin is used to treat epilepsy and anxiety.
It is also taken to treat nerve pain. Nerve pain can be caused by different illnesses including diabetes and shingles, or an injury.
Pregabalin works in different ways:
in epilepsy it stops seizures by reducing the abnormal electrical activity in the brain
with nerve pain it blocks pain by interfering with pain messages travelling through the brain and down the spine
in anxiety it stops your brain from releasing the chemicals that make you feel anxious
Pregabalin is only available on prescription. It comes as capsules or a liquid that you drink.
2. Key facts
Pregabalin is usually taken 2 or 3 times a day. You can take it with or without food.
You don’t have to have epilepsy for pregabalin to help with pain or anxiety.
It takes at least a few weeks for pregabalin to work.
The side effects of pregabalin are usually mild and go away by themselves. The most common ones are feeling sleepy, dizziness and headaches.
Pregabalin is also called by the brand names Lyrica, Alzain, Lecaent and Rewisca.
3. Who can and cannot take pregabalin
Pregabalin is only for adults. Do not give it to children under the age of 18.
Pregabalin is not suitable for some people:
To make sure pregabalin is safe for you, tell your doctor if you:
have ever had an allergic reaction to pregabalin or another medicine
have ever abused or been addicted to a medicine
are trying to become pregnant, are already pregnant or are breastfeeding
are on a controlled sodium or potassium diet, or your kidneys don’t work well – pregabalin liquid contains sodium and potassium, speak to your doctor before taking it
4. How and when to take it
Pregabalin is a prescription medicine. It’s important to take it as instructed by your doctor.
The usual dose of pregabalin is between 150mg and 600mg a day split into 2 or 3 separate doses.
If you are taking pregabalin as a liquid, 2.5ml is usually the same as taking a single 50mg capsule. Always check the label.
How to take it
You can take pregabalin with or without food, but it’s best to be consistent each day. Try to space your doses evenly through the day.
Swallow pregabalin capsules whole with a drink of water or juice. Do not chew them.
If you are taking pregabalin as a liquid, it will come with a syringe or spoon to measure your dose. Do not use a kitchen spoon as it will not give the right amount. If you do not have a measuring spoon or syringe, ask your pharmacist for one.
Will my dose go up or down?
To prevent side effects, your doctor will prescribe a low dose to start with and then increase it over a few days.
Once you find a dose that suits you, it will usually then stay the same.
How long will I take it for?
If you have epilepsy, it is likely that once your illness is under control you will continue to take pregabalin for many years.
If you are taking pregabalin for nerve pain or anxiety it is likely that once your symptoms have gone you will continue to take it for several months to stop them coming back.
What if I forget to take it?
If you forget a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is within 2 hours of the next dose, it is better to leave out the missed dose and take your next dose as normal.
Never take 2 doses at the same time. Never take an extra dose to make up for a forgotten one.
If you have epilepsy, it’s important to take this medicine regularly. Missing doses may trigger a seizure.
If you often forget doses, it may help to set an alarm to remind you. You could also ask your pharmacist for advice on other ways to help you remember to take your medicine.
What if I take too much?
Taking too much pregabalin may cause unpleasant side effects