What is Pregabalin?

Pregabalin (pre-GAB-a-lin) is an anticonvulsant drug prescribed for the management of neuropathic pain associated with diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN), post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN) and epilepsy.

In laymen terms, Pregabalin is a drug prescribed for relief from the diabetic nerve pain and used as an adjunct therapy for epilepsy patients with partial seizures and for generalized anxiety disorders.

Pregabalin is known to have a considerable impact on neuropathic lower back pain. Besides, an anticonvulsant is also known to reduce lower back pain with a considerably less amount of side effects than tricyclic antidepressants.

Marketed by Pfizer under the trade name Lyrica®, Pregabalin was developed as a follow-up drug to gabapentin and works by preventing or controlling abnormal increases in the brain electrical activity. While the European Union approved the drug in 2004, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave the approval for use a year later, in 2005.

Conditions for Use

Certain factors could hamper the effect of Pregabalin or even become counter-productive. Before you start with medication, make it a point to discuss with your health care provider if any of the below is relevant to your situation:

  • Allergies
  • Pregnancy
  • Breast-feeding
  • Age group (Older adults/Children)
  • Drug abuse history
  • Eye disease, such as glaucoma
  • Upcoming surgery
  • Kidney or heart disease

Other medications (such as antidiabetic drugs)

Dosage Required

The oral dosage of Pregabalin for adults is normally prescribed on the following patterns:

For diabetic nerve pain
150 milligrams per day, given thrice a day in dosage of 50 mg at a time.
For epilepsy
150 to 600 milligrams per day, spread over two or three doses in the day.
Post-herpetic neuralgia
150 to 300 milligrams per day, spread over two or three doses in the day.

In case of a missed dose, the patient is advised to consume the same as soon as possible. However, if the dose is skipped altogether, the patient is advised to resume with his normal schedule and strictly directed not to double doses.

Side Effects

As per the clinical trials carried out by the FDA in more than 9000 patients, adverse effects of the pregabalin drug were found to be mild to moderate in most of the cases. Research classifies side effects into the following three types:

For medical intervention
These side effects are quite rare and if the patient experiences any of the these, immediate medical intervention should be sought. These include anxiety, confusion, incessant bleeding, chest pain, difficulty in breathing, loss of balance, muscle pain, swelling of lips or tongue and rash.
Minimal severity
These are fairly common and require medical intervention only if they persist for a longer duration or are extremely severe in nature. Some of these include blurred vision, double vision, and loss of memory or tremors.
Routine effects
The side effects are very common and usually do not call for any medical intervention, unless they become extremely bothersome. Some examples include swelling in hands or ankles, constipation or diarrhea, dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, headache, insomnia and weight gain.