Pregabalin is a prescription medication used to treat pain from damaged nerves caused by diabetes, shingles, and spinal cord injury. It is also used to treat fibromyalgia and seizures. Pregabalin belongs to a class of drugs called anticonvulsants, which may work by decreasing pain signals from the brain and slowing brain activity.
This medication comes in capsule form and liquid form and is usually taken 2 or 3 times daily, with or without food.
Common side effects include dizziness, blurred vision, weight gain, and drowsiness. Do not drive a car or operate heavy machinery until you know how pregabalin affects you.
Pregabalin is a prescription medicine used in adults, 18 years and older, to treat:
- pain from damaged nerves (neuropathic pain) that happens with diabetes
- pain from damaged nerves (neuropathic pain) that follows healing of shingles (a painful rash that occurs after herpes zoster infection)
- pain from damaged nerves (neuropathic pain) due to spinal cord injury
- partial seizures when taken together with other seizure medicines
- fibromyalgia (pain all over your body)
This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Pregabalin may cause serious side effects. See "Drug Precautions" section.
The most common side effects of pregabalin are:
- blurry vision
- weight gain
- trouble concentrating
- swelling of hands and feet
- dry mouth
Pregabalin caused skin sores in animal studies. Skin sores did not happen in studies in people. If you have diabetes, you should pay attention to your skin while taking pregabalin and tell your healthcare provider about any sores or skin problems.
Tell your healthcare provider about any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.
These are not all the possible side effects of pregabalin. For more information, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist.
Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Pregabalin and other medicines may affect each other. Always check with your doctor before starting or stopping any medicines. Especially tell your doctor if you take:
- angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors such as benazepril (Lotensin, in Lotrel), captopril (Capoten, in Capozide), enalapril (Vasotec, in Vaseretic, Lexxel), fosinopril (Monopril), lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril, in Prinzide, Zestoretic), moexipril (Univasc, in Uniretic), perindopril (Aceon), quinapril (Accupril, in Accuretic, Quinaretic), ramipril (Altace), and trandolapril (Mavik, in Tarka)
- medications for anxiety, including lorazepam (Ativan)
- medications for mental illness or seizures
- certain medications for diabetes such as pioglitazone (Actos, in Duetact) and rosiglitazone (Avandia, in Avandaryl, Avandamet)
- narcotic pain medications, including oxycodone (OxyContin, in Percocet, others)
- sleeping pills
This is not a complete list of pregabalin drug interactions. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Pregabalin may cause serious side effects including:
Serious, even life-threatening, allergic reactions. Stop taking pregabalin and call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these signs of a serious allergic reaction:
- swelling of your face, mouth, lips, gums, tongue, throat or neck
- trouble breathing
- rash, hives (raised bumps) or blisters
Pregabalin may cause suicidal thoughts or actions in a very small number of people, about 1 in 500. Call a healthcare provider right away if you have any of these symptoms, especially if they are new, worse, or worry you:
- thoughts about suicide or dying
- attempts to commit suicide
- new or worse depression
- new or worse anxiety
- feeling agitated or restless
- panic attacks
- trouble sleeping (insomnia)
- new or worse irritability
- acting aggressive, being angry, or violent
- acting on dangerous impulses
- an extreme increase in activity and talking (mania)
- other unusual changes in behavior or mood
If you have suicidal thoughts or actions, do not stop pregabalin without first talking to a healthcare provider.
- Stopping pregabalin suddenly can cause serious problems.
- Suicidal thoughts or actions can be caused by things other than medicines. If you have suicidal thoughts or actions, your healthcare provider may check for other causes.
How can I watch for early symptoms of suicidal thoughts and actions?
- Pay attention to any changes, especially sudden changes, in mood, behaviors, thoughts, or feelings.
- Keep all follow-up visits with your healthcare provider as scheduled.
- Call your healthcare provider between visits as needed, especially if you are worried about symptoms.
Pregabalin may cause other serious side effects including:
Swelling of your hands, legs and feet. This swelling can be a serious problem for people with heart problems.
- Dizziness and sleepiness. Do not drive a car, work with machines, or do other dangerous activities until you know how pregabalin affects you. Ask your healthcare provider about when it will be okay to do these activities.
- Muscle problems, muscle pain, soreness, or weakness. If you have these symptoms, especially if you feel sick and have a fever, tell your healthcare provider right away.
- Problems with your eyesight, including blurry vision. Call your healthcare provider if you have any changes in your eyesight.
- Weight gain. If you have diabetes, weight gain may affect the management of your diabetes. Weight gain can also be a serious problem for people with heart problems.
- Feeling "high," intoxicated, or euphoric (extreme feelings of joy or happiness).
- Do not take pregabalin if you are allergic to pregabalin or any of the inactive ingredients in pregabalin.
- Do not drink alcohol while taking pregabalin.
Medicines can interact with certain foods. In some cases, this may be harmful and your doctor may advise you to avoid certain foods. In the case of pregabalin there are no specific foods that you must exclude from your diet when receiving this medication.
Before taking pregabalin, tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take and your medical conditions, including if you:
- are allergic to pregabalin
- have or have had depression, mood problems or suicidal thoughts or behavior
- have kidney problems or get kidney dialysis
- have heart problems including heart failure
- have a bleeding problem or a low blood platelet count
- have abused prescription medicines, street drugs, or alcohol in the past
- have ever had swelling of your face, mouth, tongue, lips, gums, neck, or throat (angioedema)
- plan to father a child (pregabalin has caused decreased fertility in male animals and birth defects in offspring of animals treated)
- are pregnant or planning to become pregnant
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
The FDA categorizes medications based on safety for use during pregnancy. Five categories - A, B, C, D, and X, are used to classify the possible risks to an unborn baby when a medication is taken during pregnancy.
This medication falls into category C. There are no well-controlled studies that have been done in pregnant women. Pregabalin should be used during pregnancy only if the possible benefit outweighs the possible risk to the unborn baby.
Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or planning to breastfeed. It is not known if pregabalin is excreted in human breast milk or if it will harm your nursing baby.
- Take pregabalin exactly as prescribed. Your doctor will tell you how much pregabalin to take and when to take it. Take pregabalin at the same times each day.
- Pregabalin may be taken with or without food.
- Your doctor may change your dose. Do not change your dose without talking to your doctor.
- Do not stop taking pregabalin without talking to your doctor. If you stop taking pregabalin suddenly you may have headaches, nausea, diarrhea or trouble sleeping. If you have epilepsy and you stop taking pregabalin suddenly, you may have seizures more often. Talk with your doctor about how to stop pregabalin slowly.
- If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, just skip the missed dose. Take the next dose at your regular time. Do not take two doses at the same time.
- If you take too much pregabalin, call your doctor or poison control center, or go to the nearest emergency room right away.
Take pregabalin exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully. Your doctor will determine the best dose for you.
The recommended dosage varies depending upon the patient's kidney function (creatinine clearance) and the medical condition being treated. Initial dosages are often 150 mg per day in divided doses (smaller doses taken two or three times daily) and are gradually increased to a maximum dose of 600 mg per day.
If you take too much pregabalin (more than the prescribed amount), call your local Poison Control Center or seek emergency medical attention right away.
- Store pregabalin capsules and oral solution at room temperature, 59°F to 86°F (15°C to 30°C) in its original package.
- Safely throw away any pregabalin that is out of date or no longer needed.
- Keep pregabalin and all medicines out of the reach of children.
Your doctor will probably start you on a low dose of pregabalin and may gradually increase your dose during the first week of treatment.
Take pregabalin exactly as directed. Pregabalin may be habit forming. Do not take a larger dose, take it more often, or take it for a longer period of time than prescribed by your doctor.
Pregabalin may help control your symptoms but will not cure your condition.
It may take several weeks or longer before you feel the full benefit of pregabalin. Continue to take pregabalin even if you feel well. Do not stop taking pregabalin without talking to your doctor.
If you suddenly stop taking pregabalin, you may experience withdrawal symptoms, including trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, nausea, diarrhea, headaches, or seizures. Your doctor will probably decrease your dose gradually over at least one week.
Do not drive a car or operate heavy machinery until you know how pregabalin affects you.