Pregabalin Medication for Chronic Pain
What is pregabalin?
Pregabalin is an anticonvulsant medication commonly prescribed to help manage seizures. It has also shown to be effective in treating fibromyalgia, neuropathic pain following a spinal cord injury or diabetes, and postherpetic neuralgia occurring after the healing of shingles.
Pregabalin slows impulses in the brain that causes seizures. It also decreases pain by affecting certain brain chemicals that send pain signals through the nervous system.
How to take pregabalin
Pregabalin is an oral medication that comes as a capsule, liquid, and extended-release tablet. It should be taken exactly as prescribed. Capsules or liquid can be taken with or without food, while extended-release tablets are usually recommended after the evening meal. Pregabalin should be consumed at the same time each day.
Capsules and extended-release tablets should be swallowed whole and should not be crushed, chewed, broken or opened. Liquid pregabalin should be measured carefully by using the dosing syringe provided. Take a missed dose as soon as possible unless it is almost time for the next dose, in which it should be skipped. It may take several weeks to feel the full benefits of pregabalin. Contact a pharmacist if questions arise.
Report any new or worsening symptoms of pregabalin to a health care professional The most common side effects include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Nausea or vomiting
- Constipation, gas or bloating
- Swelling in the hands or feet
- Weight gain
- Increased appetite
- Blurred vision
- Dry mouth
- Loss of balance
- Uncontrollable shaking or jerking
- Back pain
- Speech issues
Seek immediate medical care for any serious side effects, which include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Allergic reaction (hives, rash, itching, burning, blisters, etc.)
- Increased seizures
- Severe confusion, drowsiness, weakness or fatigue
- Difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, or wheezing
- Chest pain
- Swelling of the eyes, mouth, throat, tongue, lips, gums or head
- Vision problems (blurred or double)
- Skin sores
- Unusual bleeding or easily bruising
- Unexplained muscle pain or tenderness
- Color changes in the lips, nails, fingers or toes
- Swelling in the hands or feet
Pregabalin can cause anaphylaxis. Stopping this medicine suddenly can cause serious problems. Use caution while driving or performing hazardous tasks, as reactions could be impaired. Avoid alcohol while taking pregabalin.
Prior to taking pregabalin, inform a health care professional of the following conditions: congestive heart failure, lung disease, diabetes, kidney disease, blood disorder, history of mental illness, drug or alcohol addiction, or previous allergic reaction. Mental health changes, including suicidal thoughts, can occur suddenly while taking pregabalin.
It is not yet known whether pregabalin may harm an unborn baby. Notify the health care professional of pregnancy or plans to become pregnant. Men using this medication should not father a child, as evidence has shown that it leads to birth defects in the newborn child.
Breathing difficulties can occur when taking pregabalin with medicines that cause severe sleepiness or decreased awareness. Those ages 65 years or older that have a lung condition are at increased risk for breathing difficulties. Seek immediate medical care if breathing concerns occur.
Pregabalin can react with several other medications; therefore, it is crucial to inform a health care professional of any prescription medicine, herbal or supplements, or any at-home treatments before starting to take gabapentin.