Let’s talk about taking Pregabalin: Inside the pouch

As part of PillTime’s Inside the Pouch series, we take a look at Pregabalin.

Pregabalin is a common medication in the UK. It treats anxiety, epilepsy and relieves nerve pain. Nerve pain can be caused by several common conditions. These include Diabetes, Fibromyalgia and Multiple Sclerosis.

Facts about pregabalin

  • Lyrica and Pfizer are other known terms for pregabalin.
  • Pregabalin became a Controlled Drug in February 2018, along with its predecessor – gabapentin. Because of this, the NHS changed its policy on the electronic ordering of Controlled Drugs.
  • Pregabalin was invented in 1990 by Richard Bruce Silverman at Northwestern University in Illinois.

How does pregabalin work?

Pregabalin works differently for different conditions. Pregabalin blocks certain signals that can cause unwanted symptoms. Here’s how it works:

Epilepsy: Pregabalin prevents seizures by reducing the brain’s abnormal electrical signals.
Nerve Pain: Pregabalin reduces nerve pain by disrupting pain signals in the Central Nervous System.
Anxiety: Pregabalin helps to ease anxiety. It does this by preventing the brain from releasing the chemicals that make you feel anxious.

How long does pregabalin take to work?

You will start to see the effects of taking pregabalin in a few weeks.

Can everybody take pregabalin?

Like all medication, pregabalin isn’t suitable for everyone. It’s not suitable for children under the age of 18. You should also consult your doctor if:

  • You’ve previously had an allergic reaction to pregabalin or another medication.
  • You have a history of drug abuse or drug addiction.
  • You’re pregnant, breastfeeding or trying to become pregnant.
  • Your kidneys don’t work very well, or you’re on a controlled sodium or low potassium diet.

How do I get pregabalin?

Pregabalin is available on prescription. If you’re experiencing the issues listed above, you should consult your doctor. They will determine the best treatment for you. Pregabalin normally comes in the form of capsules or a liquid that you drink.

Which pouch will my pregabalin be in?

Pregabalin may be prescribed for twice or three times a day. You can take pregabalin with or without food. It will most likely be pouched in your morning, lunch and bedtime pouches. This helps you take pregabalin at even intervals throughout the day. Your doctor will advise when best to take these medications.

 taking-pregabalin-pouches

What dosage will I have?

A standard pregabalin dose is between 150mg and 600mg per day. This is split between two or three doses, as per your doctor’s instructions.
2.5ml of liquid pregabalin is about the same as a 50mg tablet. If you are confused by your dosage or have any questions, you should speak to your  doctor. They will be able to answer your queries.

How do I take pregabalin?

Pregabalin capsules should be swallowed them whole with water. You should not chew them.
Liquid pregabalin can be taken with a syringe or spoon. Be sure to accurately measure your dose.

For how long will I need to take pregabalin?

Epilepsy: Once your condition becomes stable, it’s likely that you’ll need to continue taking pregabalin for many years.
Nerve pain or anxiety: Once your symptoms have gone, it’s likely that you’ll need to continue taking pregabalin for several months to reduce the risk of symptoms returning.

Should I expect any side effects?

There are some common side effects of pregabalin. These may affect more than 1 in 100 people. Any side effects should disappear after a few weeks. If any persist, speak to your GP.

  1. headaches
  2. diarrhoea
  3. feeling sick
  4. weight gain
  5. feeling sleepy, tired or dizzy
  6. swelling in the hands, arms, legs and feet
  7. memory problems
  8. mood changes
  9. blurred vision
  10. for men: difficulties with getting an erection

Serious side-effects of taking pregabalin are rare. If you experience any of the following, you should consult your GP straight away:

  1. thoughts of harming or killing yourself – a small number of people taking pregabalin have had suicidal thoughts that can happen after only a week of treatment
  2. difficulties breathing
  3. severe dizziness or you pass out
  4. hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t real)
  5. problems going to the toilet, including blood in your pee, needing to pee more often, or constipation

Taking pregabalin with diabetes

If you have diabetes, pregabalin can disrupt your blood sugar levels. To ensure you maintain stable blood sugar levels, monitor your levels more closely in the first couple months of taking pregabalin. You may need to adjust your diabetes treatment. If you need to do this, or want further advice, you should speak to your GP.

Will pregabalin interact with any of my other medications?

Let your doctor know if you take any medications that make you feel drowsy. Pregabalin can worsen these symptoms. Pregabalin may also interact with strong painkillers, such as morphine.

Taking pregabalin with PillTime

If you’d like a simpler way of managing your repeat medication, visit the PillTime homepage. PillTime organises all your medication into clearly labelled, dose specific pouches. We deliver your organised medication to your door, for free. Find out more.