Lyrica for pain relief, side effects, benefits, birth defectsbcvu7 Pregabalin
June 2 2016 by
Ray Sahelian, M.D.


Lyrica affects chemicals and nerves in the body that are involved in the cause of seizures and some types of pain. Lyrica is a medicine designed specifically to relieve common types of nerve pain such as diabetic nerve pain and pain after shingles. Lyrica is made by Pfizer. Lyrica, which is currently approved to treat neuropathic pain and epilepsy seizures.


Curr Neuropharmacology. 2014. Pregabalin in neuropathic pain: evidences and possible mechanisms. Pregabalin is an antagonist of voltage gated Ca2+ channels and specifically binds to alpha-2-delta subunit to produce antiepileptic and analgesic actions. It alleviates the symptoms of various types of neuropathic pain and presents itself as therapeutic agent with good safety and efficacy. Preclinical studies in various animal models of neuropathic pain have shown its effectiveness in treating the symptoms like allodynia and hyperalgesia. Clinical studies in different age groups and in different types of neuropathic pain (peripheral diabetic neuropathy, fibromyalgia, post-herpetic neuralgia, cancer chemotherapy-induced neuropathic pain) have projected it as an effective agent either as monotherapy or in combined regimens in terms of cost effectiveness, tolerability and overall improvement in neuropathic pain states.


Mechanism of action, how it works
It appears that pregabalin is an antagonist of voltage gated Ca2+ channels and specifically binds to alpha-2-delta subunit to produce antiepileptic and analgesic actions.


Lyrica for seizures
Lyrica is used with other drugs in the treatment of some types of seizures.


Lyrica and Post Herpetic Neuralgia

This medication is used for the management of postherpetic neuralgia (nerve pain caused by the herpes virus or shingles).


Lyrica for Diabetic Neuropathy

Lyrica is prescribed for diabetic neuropathy (pain from damaged nerves that happen with diabetes).


Lyrica and fibromyalgia
Patients taking Pfizer Inc's Lyrica have less from fibromyalgia. Pfizer submitted data from the study to U.S. health regulators in an effort to broaden the fast-growing drug's approved uses to include treatment of fibromyalgia. There are natural options to treat fibromyalgia. See fibromyalgia for info on natural treatment options.
   The study tested Lyrica at three doses -- 600 milligrams a day, 450 mg and 300 mg -- against a placebo and had patients measure their pain on a scale of zero to 10. Thirty percent of patients taking the 600 mg dose of Lyrica said their pain was reduced by half or better compared with 27 percent at 450 mg and 24 percent at the lowest dose. Of those taking a placebo, 15 percent reported pain reduction of 50 percent or greater, Pfizer said. Data from the study were presented at the American Academy of Neurology annual meeting in Boston in May of 2007.


2007 - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Lyrica for fibromyalgia. It is thought that this drug reduces pain and improves daily functions for some patients with fibromyalgia. Studies have shown that such patients have decreased pain after taking Lyrica, but, the mechanism by which it produces such an effect is unknown. The most common side effects of Lyrica include mild-to-moderate dizziness and sleepiness. Blurred vision, weight gain, dry mouth, and swelling of the hands and feet also were reported in clinical trials. The side effects appeared to be dose-related. Lyrica can impair motor function and cause problems with concentration and attention. FDA advises that patients talk to their doctor or other health care professional about whether use of Lyrica may impair their ability to drive. Lyrica already is approved for treating partial seizures, pain following the rash of shingles and pain associated with diabetes nerve damage.
   My comments: Only resort to Lyrica if you have tried every natural approach and you are still suffering from fibromyalgia pain.


Anxiety Disorder

Lyrica may have similar efficacy to the benzodiazepines and venlafaxine.


Alcohol Detoxification

Lyrica may be a therapeutic agent for medical management of alcohol detoxification.


Pregnancy, side effects, birth defects
The widely prescribed drug pregabalin (Lyrica) may slightly increase the risk for birth defects. In a small study researchers found that among women taking Lyrica during the first trimester of pregnancy, 6 percent had infants with major birth defects. In women who weren't taking the drug, 2 percent had a baby with a major birth defect.



Q. I am suffering from diabetes since 1995. I am on tablets. From Dec 2005 I had developed with diabetic neuropathy problem. My family doctor  gave me Lyrica 75 mg. From January 2006 my penis getting thinner and when erection time my penis is having abnormal bend. Therefore my penis is not straight to do intercourse. I have a difficulty to do the intercourse. Do you thing this problem is due to the Diabetic neuropathy or Lyrica?
     A. Diabetic neuropathy can cause impotence or erectile dysfunction. I am not sure yet of the side effects of Lyrica to know whether impotence or abnormal curvature of the penis is a Lyrica side effect.


Q. I read on a website, "Lyrica is a medicine designed specifically to relieve 2 of the most common types of nerve pain: Diabetic Nerve Pain and Pain after Shingles. Lyrica is also approved to treat partial onset seizures in adults with epilepsy who take one or more anti-seizure medicines." My Neurologist has me taking Lyrica Caplets, 50 mg, twice a day for the prevention of migraines. I have been taking it for 2 months. My migraines aren't as severe as they use to be and don't last as long as they use to. However, I still get them daily. Should I ask my Neurologist to increase the dosage to 3 caps daily?
   A. We cannot provide individual advice. See migraine headache for more info to discuss with your neurologist.


I am a physician and my wife was placed on Lyrica for neuropathic pain in 2006. She no longer requires the medicine since 2008 after a series of nerve blocks. She has tried to very slowly taper the drug multiple times to get off the drug without success. When she gets below a certain dosage she develops severe insomnia and is not able to fall asleep for days until she increases the dosage. The usual sleep aides do not work until the Lyrica is increased. (I hope you can help me find a solution.) I have been adding over the counter GABA and L-theanine and inositol but I donít know if I am just making the problem worse. If a GABA supplement helps her sleep, does it cross the blood brain barrier? If she has a urine test by neuroscience and it measures the GABA, how would you interpret that if she is on a GABA-nergic drug and a GABA supplement? Neuroscience did not have a good answer. The same applies if you measure the amino acid levels in blood, including GABA, how would you interpret that? Have you had any experience getting people off GABA like drugs? If not, is there specific person or center you would highly recommend? Do you have any other ideas as far as supplements or combinations that might help her sleep while she tries to get off this drug?
   I do not think it is of benefit to measure levels of neurotransmitters in the blood or urine in terms of developing a treatment strategy. In most cases I do not find these kinds of tests useful or practical.