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Lyrica is the brand name under which the drug Pregabalin is commonly sold. It is a medication for treating epilepsy, shaky leg syndrome, or neuropathic pain and generic medication for spinal cord injury and pain caused by nerve damage through other ailments. It is also used as an anesthetic before conducting surgeries. It is usually administered orally. Pregabalin is a successor to Gabapentin, and it was first approved for usage in the year 2004 in the United States of America.
Since then, it has been made available as a generic medication in several countries. In 2018, it was the 70th most prescribed medicine in the United States alone. The prescriptions reached a whopping amount of 11 million that year.
Lyrica is a controlled Schedule V drug. It should be used judiciously and in regulated amounts as prescribed by the doctor. Usually, the medicine is taken in oral form two to three times a day or as prescribed by the doctor or pharmacist. The dosage is based on several factors: kidney function, underlying or pre-dominant medical condition, basal metabolic rate, weight, sex, and response to other medication.
The dosage is increased gradually over a period to avoid risks of side effects. The body must get used to the effects of the medication till the dosage reaches an optimum level. Once started, you should not stop the dosage abruptly without consulting with the doctor. It has been known to cause addiction if taken in large quantities and unregulated amounts. The addiction risk is higher in patients with known addiction or substance abuse previously.
The drug's possible side effects include dizziness, irregular bowel movement, dryness of mouth, weight gain, etc. Any serious side effect is rare but must be reported to the doctor immediately if observed. The serious side effects can range from blurred vision, muscle cramp, pain, energy loss, fever, unusual bleeding, etc. Normally, patients with neuropathic ailments may suffer from depression or mood swings in case of an overdose or when this medicine is taken in combination with any anticonvulsant.
Allergic reactions to the drug are rare but must be reported immediately to the doctor or the pharmacist if symptoms occur and remain persistent. These reactions can cause rashes, continuous itching, swelling, etc.
The medicine may contain active ingredients that can cause reactions if you are already allergic to certain substances. Your doctor can suggest a combination of medicines and Lyrica or prescribe alternatives depending upon the seriousness of your condition.
You should disclose medical histories such as heart problems, kidney diseases, angioedema, genetically acquired diseases, substance abuse history, or any other addiction you may have gone through or are still going through to the doctor. Additionally, alcohol consumption or marijuana use can aggravate dizziness, nausea, or blurry vision problems. The consumption of such intoxicating drinks or substances should be regulated or reduced while taking this medicine.
Any oral medication is taken additionally in daily use, generic medicine, over-the-counter medication that you use regularly should also be considered before starting the consumption of Pregabalin.
The medicine should be avoided during pregnancy until extremely necessary. Always consult your doctor before taking this medicine during such a period. The chemical also passes on to the breastfeeding baby; hence you must clearly avoid its use during such period.
Certain drug or chemical interactions may either hinder the effect of the main medicine or trigger reactions in general. To avoid such complications, you should disclose all the products and medicines you regularly use that may cause a reaction while administering Pregabalin. A common product that reacts with Pregabalin is orlistat, a medicine used by overweight or obese people to control their weight.
Alcohol, marijuana, or other intoxicating substances can also interact with Pregabalin in general. Since Pregabalin itself is used as an anesthetic, heightened dizziness or blurry vision can occur while using this medicine in combination with any intoxicating substance. Other pain relief medicines such as hydrocodone, sleep medication such as alprazolam or zolpidem, muscle relaxants such as carisoprodol, etc., can interact with Pregabalin to cause certain reactions.
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Neuropathic Pain associated with Spinal Cord Injury
Following abrupt or rapid discontinuation of Pregabalin, some people reported symptoms similar to effects induced by addictive substances. Physical dependence can increase rapidly. Even people who have discontinued short-term use of Pregabalin have experienced withdrawal symptoms that include insomnia, headache, nausea, anxiety, diarrhea, nervousness, major depression, pain, convulsions, hyperhidrosis, and dizziness, along with nausea, blurry vision, and frequent headaches.
While every medicine is manufactured for treating a specific ailment, the chemical composition may cause side effects, reactions, or major/minor interactions with other drugs. Hence, it is always recommended to get a doctor’s advice first before starting treatment on your own. Many over-the-counter medicines are still safe for usage; you must take medicines like Lyrica used for neuropathic relief only after consulting a doctor.