Lyrica (Pregabalin) - Oral

What Is Lyrica?

Lyrica (pregabalin) is an oral prescription medication used to treat neuropathic pain, fibromyalgia, and a type of seizure known as partial seizures.

It belongs to a class of medications known as anticonvulsants. Lyrica is believed to work by calming overactive or damaged nerves in the body that are causing pain or seizures. It is available as a capsule, extended-release tablet, and oral solution.

Lyrica is a Schedule V controlled substance, which means it is possible for people to develop a dependence on it. Lyrica has a lower potential for abuse than other scheduled controlled substances. Your healthcare provider will monitor your use of this medication.

Drug Facts

Generic Name: Pregabalin

Brand Name(s): Lyrica, Lyrica CR

Administration Route(s): Oral

Drug Availability: Prescription

Therapeutic Classification: Neuropathic pain agent

Available Generically: Yes

Controlled Substance: Schedule V

Active Ingredient: Pregabalin

Dosage Form(s): Capsule, extended-release tablet, solution

What Is Lyrica Used For?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Lyrica to treat:

  • Fibromyalgia
  • Neuropathic pain caused by damaged nerves due to diabetes, spinal cord injury, or shingles
  • Partial-onset seizures in people aged 1 month and older when used in combination with another treatment (adjunctive therapy)
Lyrica (Pregabalin) Drug Information - Illustration by Zoe Hansen

Verywell / Zoe Hansen

How to Take Lyrica

Lyrica is available as an oral capsule and an oral solution. It is also available as an extended-release oral tablet under the brand name Lyrica CR. These are meant to be taken by mouth. How often you take Lyrica depends on what condition you are using it to treat and how your body reacts to the medication.

The capsules and oral solution are usually taken two or three times a day. This medication can be taken with or without food. However, the extended-release tablet is usually taken once a day after an evening meal. Swallow the extended-release tablets whole. Do not crush, cut, or chew them.

Storage

People should store this medication at a controlled room temperature, about 68 degrees to 77 degrees Fahrenheit.

If traveling, always carry your medication with you and keep the original prescription-labeled bottle or box in your carry-on bag. Don’t leave this medication in your car, especially in very cold or hot temperatures.

How Long Does Lyrica Take to Work?

How long Lyrica takes to work can vary. You may experience decreased pain as early as one week during treatment, or it may take longer. If you do not experience sufficient pain relief after two to four weeks, your healthcare provider may change your dose.

What Are the Side Effects of Lyrica?

Like most medications, Lyrica can cause mild or serious side effects.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. A healthcare provider can advise you on side effects. If you experience other effects, contact your pharmacist or a healthcare provider. You may report side effects to the FDA at fda.gov/medwatch or 1-800-FDA-1088.

Common Side Effects

The most common side effects with Lyrica include:

  • Dizziness
  • Weight gain
  • Dry mouth
  • Blurry Vision
  • Tiredness
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Swelling of hands or feet

If any of these side effects don’t go away or become more severe, talk to your healthcare practitioner or pharmacist.

Severe Side Effects

Call your provider right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you have a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

  • Suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts: Symptoms may include suicide attempts, new or worsening anxiety or depression, trouble sleeping, agitation, acting on dangerous impulses, and unusual changes in mood or behavior.
  • Severe allergic reactions: Symptoms may include trouble breathing, hives, and swelling of the tongue, lips, mouth, or throat.
  • Heart problems
  • Serious breathing problems

Report Side Effects

Lyrica may cause other side effects. Call your healthcare provider if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your provider may send a report to the FDA's MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting Program or by phone (800-332-1088).

Dosage: How Much Lyrica Should I Take?

Drug Content Provided and Reviewed by IBM Micromedex®

The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

  • For diabetic nerve pain:
    • For oral dosage forms (capsules and solution):
      • Adults—At first, 50 milligrams (mg) 3 times a day. Your doctor may adjust your dose as needed. However, the dose is usually not more than 300 mg per day.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
    • For oral dosage forms (extended-release tablets):
      • Adults—At first, 165 milligrams (mg) once a day for 1 week. Your doctor may increase your dose as needed and tolerated. However, the dose is usually not more than 330 mg per day.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
  • For partial-onset seizures:
    • For oral dosage forms (capsules and solution):
      • Adults and children 17 years of age and older—At first, 150 milligrams (mg) per day given in 2 or 3 divided doses. Your doctor may adjust your dose as needed. However, the dose is usually not more than 600 mg per day.
      • Children 1 month of age and older weighing 30 kilograms (kg) or more—Use is based on body weight and must be determined by your doctor. The usual dose is 2.5 milligram per kilogram (mg/kg) per day given in 2 or 3 divided doses. Your doctor may adjust your dose as needed. However, the dose is usually not more than 10 mg/kg (600 mg) per day.
      • Children 1 month of age and older weighing less than 30 kilograms kg—Use is based on body weight and must be determined by your doctor. The usual dose is 3.5 milligram per kilogram (mg/kg) per day given in 3 divided doses. Your doctor may adjust your dose as needed. However, the dose is usually not more than 14 mg/kg per day.
      • Children younger than 1 month of age—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
  • For fibromyalgia:
    • For oral dosage forms (capsules and solution):
      • Adults—At first, 75 milligrams (mg) 2 times a day. Your doctor may adjust your dose as needed. However, the dose is usually not more than 450 mg per day.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
  • For postherpetic neuralgia:
    • For oral dosage forms (capsules and solution):
      • Adults—At first, 75 to 150 milligrams (mg) 2 times a day, or 50 to 100 mg 3 times a day. Your doctor may adjust your dose as needed and tolerated. However, the dose is usually not more than 600 mg per day.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
    • For oral dosage forms (extended-release tablets):
      • Adults—At first, 165 milligrams (mg) once a day for 1 week. Your doctor may increase your dose to 330 mg as needed and tolerated. However, the dose is usually not more than 660 mg per day.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.
  • For spinal cord injury nerve pain:
    • For oral dosage forms (capsules and solution):
      • Adults—At first, 75 milligrams (mg) 2 times a day. Your doctor may adjust your dose as needed. However, the dose is usually not more than 600 mg per day.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.

Modifications

In some cases, your healthcare provider may change your dosage or treatment regimen of Lyrica. There are certain situations in which you may need to use caution when taking this medication.

Pregnancy

There are no adequate, well-controlled studies on the safety of using Lyrica during pregnancy in humans. Tell your provider if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. They may discuss the potential risk to the fetus with you. There is a pregnancy exposure registry that monitors outcomes in pregnant people exposed to Lyrica.

Breastfeeding

Small amounts of Lyrica have been found in human breast milk. It is not recommended to breastfeed during treatment with Lyrica.

Kidney Problems

Lyrica is excreted in the kidney. Adults with reduced kidney function may be more likely to experience toxicity when taking Lyrica. A dose adjustment may be recommended.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose of Lyrica, you should take the missed dose as soon as you remember. But if it is almost time for the next scheduled dose, then you should skip the dose you missed. Do not take an extra dose to make up for the missed dose. Doing so can increase your risk for side effects.

For the extended-release tablet, you can take the missed dose before bedtime after eating a snack or the following day after breakfast. However, if you miss taking the dose after breakfast, do not take the missed dose. Continue with your regular dosing schedule.

Overdose: What Happens If I Take Too Much Lyrica?

Taking too much Lyrica can be dangerous. Symptoms of an overdose may include:

  • Loss of control of body movements
  • Tremors
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Amnesia
  • Trouble speaking
  • Twitching
  • Headache
  • Nervousness

What Happens If I Overdose on Lyrica?

If you think you or someone else may have overdosed on Lyrica, call a healthcare provider or the Poison Control Center (800-222-1222).

If someone collapses, has a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can’t wake up after taking too much Lyrica, call 911 immediately.

Precautions

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It is very important that your doctor check your and your child's progress at regular visits, especially for the first few months that you take pregabalin. This is necessary to allow for dose adjustments and to make sure this medicine is working properly. Blood tests may be needed to check for any unwanted effects.

This medicine may cause serious allergic reactions, including angioedema, which can be life-threatening and require immediate medical attention. Tell your doctor right away if you have a rash, itching, hoarseness, trouble breathing, trouble swallowing, or large, hive-like swelling on the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or genitals after using this medicine.

Check with your doctor before using this medicine with alcohol or other medicines that affect the central nervous system (CNS). The use of alcohol or other medicines that affect the CNS with pregabalin may worsen the side effects of this medicine, such as dizziness, poor concentration, drowsiness, unusual dreams, and trouble with sleeping. Some examples of medicines that affect the CNS are antihistamines or medicine for allergies or colds, sedatives, tranquilizers, or sleeping medicines, medicine for depression, medicine for anxiety, prescription pain medicine or narcotics, medicine for attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, medicine for seizures or barbiturates, muscle relaxants, or anesthetics, including some dental anesthetics.

This medicine may cause some people to be agitated, irritable, or display other abnormal behaviors. It may also cause some people to have suicidal thoughts or to become more depressed. Also tell your doctor if you have sudden or strong feelings, such as feeling nervous, angry, restless, violent, or scared. If you or your caregiver notice any of these side effects, tell your doctor right away.

This medicine may cause respiratory depression, a serious breathing problem that can be life-threatening, when used together with narcotic pain medicines. Check with your doctor right away if you have pale or blue lips, fingernails, or skin, difficult or troubled breathing, or irregular, fast or slow, or shallow breathing.

Pregabalin may cause blurred vision, double vision, clumsiness, unsteadiness, dizziness, drowsiness, or trouble with thinking. Do not drive or do anything else that could be dangerous until you know how this medicine affects you. If these side effects are especially bothersome, check with your doctor.

This medicine may cause you or your child to have edema (body swelling) or to gain weight. This may cause problems for people with heart failure. Talk with your doctor if you have concerns.

This medicine may increase your or your child's risk for cancer (eg, hemangiosarcoma) and bleeding. Talk to your doctor if you have concerns.

Do not suddenly stop taking pregabalin without checking first with your doctor. Your doctor may want you or your child to gradually reduce the amount you are taking before stopping it completely. Stopping the medicine suddenly may cause seizures or side effects such as dizziness, diarrhea, nausea, headaches, vomiting, irritability, trouble with sleeping, nightmares, or tingling feelings.

Call your doctor if you or your child have any unexplained muscle pain, tenderness, or weakness, especially with a fever. These may be symptoms of a serious muscle problem called myopathy.

This medicine may cause sores or other skin problems (eg, skin ulcers), which may be more likely to occur in patients with diabetes. Talk to your doctor about proper skin care.

Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.

What Are Reasons I Shouldn’t Take Lyrica?

There are a few reasons why your provider may not choose Lyrica as part of your treatment plan.

Allergy

A person should not take Lyrica if they are allergic to the ingredients.

Alcohol Use

Drinking alcohol while you take Lyrica can increase the risk of sleepiness. It is best to speak with your provider if you drink alcohol.

Pregnancy

Lyrica should only be used during pregnancy if the benefits outweigh the risks. It is best to talk to your provider if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant so that they can decide the best option for you.

Studies have shown that this drug caused changes in sperm and made male rats less fertile. Birth defects were also seen in babies of rats and rabbits exposed to this medication. It is not known if this effect also happens in humans.

Breastfeeding

Lyrica does pass into human milk. Talk with your provider if you are breastfeeding as you may need to decide if you should stop taking this medication or stop breastfeeding.

Children

This medication has not been studied in children.

Other Health Conditions

In certain individuals, the body may handle Lyrica differently. A person should inform their healthcare provider if they have:

  • Kidney problems 
  • Heart problems 
  • Depression or mental health disorders
  • History of drug or alcohol misuse
  • Respiratory problems

What Other Medications Interact With Lyrica?

There are a few medications that can interact with Lyrica.

The below medications can cause an increased risk for side effects when taken with Lyrica:

  • Diabetes medications, such as pioglitazone
  • Tranquilizers and medications used for anxiety, such as Xanax (alprazolam)
  • Blood pressure medications, such as lisinopril
  • Opioid pain medications, such as oxycodone 

This list does not include all drugs that can interact with Lyrica. Before taking Lyrica, tell your healthcare provider about all prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, supplements, or herbs you are taking. This will help you avoid potential interactions. If you have any questions about drug interactions, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.

What Medications Are Similar?

Lyrica is a medication known as an anticonvulsant and is often used to treat nerve pain or seizures. A few other commonly prescribed medications for nerve pain or seizures include:

  • Neurontin (gabapentin)
  • Cymbalta (duloxetine)

Neurontin 

Gabapentin is available as a tablet, capsule, or solution. It is part of the same medication class as Lyrica and is often prescribed to treat nerve pain or seizures. The most common side effects include dizziness, water retention, trouble walking, or sleepiness.

Cymbalta

Duloxetine is available as an oral capsule. It is part of a different medication class known as serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors. Duloxetine is often prescribed to treat major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, nerve pain, musculoskeletal pain, and fibromyalgia. Common side effects include trouble sleeping, dizziness, headache, loss of libido, headache, or nausea.

This list is a list of drugs from similar medication classes as Lyrica. It is not a list of drugs recommended to take with Lyrica. Ask your pharmacist or healthcare provider if you have any questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Lyrica used for?

    Lyrica is part of a class of medications known as anticonvulsants. It helps to treat neuropathic pain, fibromyalgia, and partial-onset seizures. It is unknown how Lyrica works, but it is thought to provide a calming effect on damaged or overactive nerves.

  • What are the side effects of Lyrica?

    The most common side effects are drowsiness, trouble concentrating, or weight gain. Lyrica also has the potential for serious side effects such as an allergic reaction, suicidal thoughts, or serious breathing problems. If you are experiencing any serious side effects, call your healthcare provider right away. Call 911 if you are experiencing a medical emergency or life-threatening symptoms.

  • How do I safely stop taking Lyrica?

    Abruptly stopping Lyrica may cause your seizures or pain to worsen potentially. You may also have symptoms of withdrawal from the medication. It is best to speak with your provider before you stop taking Lyrica. They will usually decrease the dose gradually.

How Can I Stay Healthy While Taking Lyrica?

Lyrica is a safe and effective medication when used correctly. While Lyrica does have the potential for serious side effects such as allergic reactions or suicidal thoughts, the most common side effects may be milder. Those include drowsiness, blurry vision, trouble concentrating, or weight gain.

Lyrica can be habit forming. Only take it as directed by a healthcare professional, and do not change your dose on your own. Discuss with your provider about the potential benefits and risks before taking Lyrica. Remember to continue taking your medication even if you feel well. Suddenly stopping Lyrica can cause your condition to worsen and even result in withdrawal symptoms.

It is important to inform your healthcare team of your other health conditions and any prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, supplements, or herbs you are taking. This way, your health provider can decide what medication and what dose are safe and work best for you.

Medical Disclaimer

Verywell Health's drug information is meant for educational purposes only and is not intended as a replacement for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a healthcare professional. Consult your doctor before taking any new medication(s). IBM Watson Micromedex provides some of the drug content, as indicated on the page.

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