Side effects from lyrica

How Long Does Lyrica Stay In Your System After Stopping?


Lyrica (Pregabalin) is a medication approved for the treatment fibromyalgia, neuropathic pain, and partial seizures (as an adjuvant). The drug “pregabalin” was engineered by Pfizer as an improved successor to “gabapentin,” a chemical that had been on the market since 1993. Like gabapentin, pregabalin is considered a lipophilic analogue of the neurotransmitter GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), but differs substantially in its bioavailability; Lyrica is more bioavailable.

The drug functions primarily as a modulator of GABA without binding to receptors. Specifically, pregabalin binds to the α2δ subunit of voltage-gated calcium channels to facilitate an increase in levels of the enzyme glutamate decarboxylase (GAD). Elevations in levels of glutamate decarboxylase triggers greater conversion of glutamate to GABA, resulting in increased GABA concentrations.

As a result of Lyrica’s effect on GABA, many users report clinically significant reductions in seizures, neuropathic pain, and fibromyalgia. Though the drug can be therapeutic for some, it often carries unwanted side effects such as: blurred vision, coordination problems, memory impairment, sedation, and weight gain. Should you experience any of these side effects, you may decide to stop taking Lyrica – wondering how long it’ll take to clear from your system.

How long does Lyrica stay in your system? (Pregabalin)

After you’ve ceased usage of the drug, you’ll likely experience an array of prominent (often unexpected) Lyrica withdrawal symptoms. During this time you may wonder how long the pregabalin within Lyrica stays in your system after your last dose. To determine how long the pregabalin is likely to remain in systemic circulation, it is important to consider it’s elimination half-life of 6.3 hours.

An elimination half-life of 6.3 hours indicates that 50% of the drug should be out of your system within 6.3 hours of administration. Based off of this information, we can estimate that the drug is likely to have been fully excreted from your system in 1.44 days. This means that most Lyrica users will have excreted the drug within a day-and-a-half (1.5 days) of their final dose.

Though Lyrica should be excreted from your body within 1-2 days, it is necessary to investigate whether any metabolites are formed that could have longer half-lives. Unlike gabapentin which does not form any metabolites, the pregabalin within Lyrica forms the metabolite “N-methylpregabalin.” Despite the presence of N-methylpregabalin, it is not thought to exhibit a longer half-life than its parent pregabalin.

  • Source:

Variables that influence how long Lyrica stays in your system

Though Lyrica is likely to stay in your system for 1-2 days after administration, there are often differences in excretion times among individuals. Excretion in 1.44 days is considered “average”; some users will excrete the drug in a shorter duration, while others may take longer. The speed of excretion is often influenced by variables such as: renal function, the individual taking the drug, dosage, and term of administration.

  1. Renal function

It is known that Lyrica undergoes negligible hepatic metabolism and is primarily excreted unchanged by the kidneys. For this reason, optimal renal function is required to efficiently excrete the unchanged drug. Should an individual experience renal impairment, it will slow the clearance rate and increase the elimination half-life of Lyrica.

In general, the greater the extent to which you experience renal impairment, the longer you can expect Lyrica to linger within your system after your last dose. Research has shown that among some individuals with renal impairment, the elimination half-life of pregabalin was extended to 11.5 hours. This was due to greater accumulation of the drug as a result of suboptimal renal function.

This would suggest that among those with renal impairment, it’ll take approximately 2.64 days to excrete Lyrica, more than 24 hours longer than those with normative kidney function. It is possible that those with more severe renal impairment may take between 3 and 4 days to fully excrete the drug. If you exhibit healthy (or normative) kidney function, you should expect to have eliminated pregabalin from your system in under 2 days.

  • Source:
  • Source:
  1. Individual factors

In theory, two people could administer a single dose of 100 mg Lyrica simultaneously, yet one individual may excrete the drug quicker than the other. Variance in excretion time could be a result of factors such as: age, body mass, hydration, and urinary pH. When attempting to estimate how long it’ll take your body to excrete Lyrica, these factors may warrant consideration.

Age: It is hypothesized that elderly individuals (over the age of 65) often exhibit poorer clearance and an increased elimination half-life of pregabalin. Elderly adults are likely to exhibit heightened plasma concentrations of pregabalin as a result of poorer distribution and diminished renal function. Research estimates that over 33% of individuals over the age of 60 experience Stage III chronic kidney disease.

As a result of suboptimal kidney function among the elderly, dosage reductions are typically required to ensure normative excretion speed of gabapentin. Furthermore, elderly individuals may have other health conditions, reduced blood flow, and/or poorer overall physiologic function compared to younger counterparts. Younger adults tend are often in better health and usually eliminate gabapentin with greater speed and efficiency compared to elderly.

  • Source:

Body mass/fat: Usually the greater a person’s body mass relative to gabapentin dosage, the quicker they’ll excrete the drug. Contrarily, the lesser a person’s body mass relative to administered dosage of gabapentin, the longer they may take to excrete it. A more massive body (bigger system) means that greater amounts of exogenous substances will likely be excreted with greater efficiency than smaller individuals.

Though the exact degree to which body mass affects clearance isn’t fully understood, a 100 mg dose of Lyrica would likely get excreted quicker in a 6’5″ man compared to 4’2″ woman. In addition to body mass, a person’s body fat should also be thought to affect excretion. Since gabapentin is highly hydrophilic, it is soluble in water.

Therefore individuals with greater muscle tissue (and less body fat) may retain the gabapentin for slightly longer durations than those with less muscle. Muscle is known to increase water retention, whereas increased fat is associated with decreased water retention. In other words, individuals with a high body fat percentage may purge gabapentin quicker than those with low body fat.

Hydration: Whether you’re sufficiently hydrated after taking Lyrica (or dehydrated) could affect how quickly the drug is excreted from your system. Hydration is known to impact a person’s urinary flow rate, which in turn is thought to alter clearance rate/excretion speed of drugs. A person who stays properly hydrated after taking Lyrica will likely exhibit increased urinary flow rate compared to someone who’s dehydrated.

Increased urinary flow rate is associated with expedited clearance and excretion of drugs like pregabalin. Therefore, the greater your level of hydration, the quicker you should expect Lyrica to leave your system. Oppositely, someone who’s underhydrated will excrete pregabalin with less efficiency and it will linger in their body for a longer duration.

Urinary pH: A person’s urinary pH is also thought to affect speed of drug clearance. Individuals with acidic (low pH) urine tend to excrete drugs quicker than those with alkaline (high pH) urine. Since a person’s urinary pH is generally influenced by their dietary choices, an individual eating predominantly alkaline foods may excrete pregabalin more slowly than a person eating acidic foods.

Alkalinity of urine is associated with reabsorption of drugs prior to excretion and slower clearance rates. Reabsorption facilitates recirculation throughout the system and may significantly increase elimination half-life of pregabalin. On the contrary, acidification is thought to prevent reabsorption and expedite clearance rate.

  1. Dosage (50 mg to 600 mg)

For most medical conditions, Lyrica is taken within the dosing range of 150 mg to 300 mg per day; typically divided into 2 or 3 doses. The greater the daily dose a person takes of Lyrica, the slower they are likely to excrete it from their system. An individual taking 600 mg of Lyrica per day will likely retain the drug for a longer duration after discontinuation than someone taking just 50 mg per day.

When a high dose such as 600 mg is administered, a greater amount of the drug is distributed throughout the body and heightened plasma concentrations are attained compared to a lower dose. The increase in pregabalin plasma concentrations translates to a greater burden being placed on the kidneys when it comes time to excrete the drug. In other words, when a greater amount of an exogenous substance necessitates renal excretion, the excretion capacity is reduced.

This is because the kidneys are placed under greater stress (as a result of the higher dose) and need to work harder to eliminate the drug. At lower doses such as 50 mg per day, less of a burden is placed on the kidneys because there’s less of the drug that needs to be excreted. Therefore if you discontinue from a high daily dose, you should expect the drug to remain in your system for slightly longer than if you had taken a low daily dose.

  1. Term of Administration

The term over which you’ve been taking Lyrica could influence how long it stays in your body after your last dose. A person who’s taken just a single dose of Lyrica will likely excrete it quicker from their system than a person who’s been taking it for several days. This is because steady state concentrations of pregabalin are thought to be attained after 48 hours (2 days) of consistent administration.

However, long-term users of Lyrica tend to excrete the drug at a slower pace not because of steady state, but because of dosing. Consistent long-term administration of Lyrica often results in users building tolerance to low doses. After awhile, these individuals require upward titrations in dosing to derive the same therapeutic benefit that they once attained from low doses.

These increases in dosing lead to greater plasma concentrations of the drug and place an increased burden on the kidneys for excretion. For this reason, long-term/chronic users of Lyrica may not excrete the drug quite as fast as short-term/infrequent users. That said, the differences in excretion times between a short-term and long-term pregabalin user is unlikely to be as significant as it would be with other drugs.

This is due to the fact that pregabalin is highly hydrophilic, meaning it is soluble in water. Therefore even in long-term users, the drug is unlikely to “accumulate” in bodily tissues. Other substances that are classified as highly lipophilic may accumulate to a greater extent in the tissues (e.g. body fat) of long-term users.

Lyrica (Pregabalin): Absorption, Distribution, Excretion (Details)

Following oral administration of Lyrica, the active ingredient “pregabalin” is efficiently absorbed by the proximal small bowel and exhibits a bioavailability of ~90%. Unlike may psychiatric drugs, pregabalin does not bind to plasma proteins. It is distributed throughout the body at an estimated 0.5 L/kg by way of the L-amino acid transport system (as it is an L-transporter substrate).

Peak plasma concentrations of pregabalin are attained approximately 1.5 hours post-ingestion, with the specific concentration directly relative to the dosage administered. Some sources suggest that co-ingestion of food with pregabalin may decrease its rate of absorption by 30%, thus slightly delaying the time to attain peak plasma concentrations from 1.5 to 3 hours. Steady state concentrations are thought to be attained between 24 and 48 hours after consecutive dosing.

Pregabalin is not subject to hepatic metabolism, and therefore is primarily excreted unchanged by the kidneys. Unlike its predecessor gabapentin, however, approximately 2% of a pregabalin dose is converted to form N-methylpregabalin. In healthy adults, renal clearance of pregabalin occurs at a rate of 67 to 80.9 mL/min.

An estimated 90% of a dose is excreted via the urine as unchanged pregabalin, whereas 0.9% is the N-methylpregabalin metabolite. Accounting for the 6.3 hour half-life of pregabalin, the drug should get fully eliminated from your body within approximately 1.44 days of your last dose. Among those with renal impairment, it could take between 2 and 3 days to completely excrete pregabalin and N-methylpregabalin metabolites.

  • Source:
  • Source:

Getting Lyrica out of your system

If you’ve stopped taking Lyrica recently, you probably want to ensure that it is fully cleared from your body as soon as possible after your final dose. Keep in mind that the tips listed below may vary in efficacy among individuals. Furthermore, it is always recommended to consult a medical professional to verify safety of these suggestions prior to actual implementation.

  1. Discontinue: If you want to ensure that Lyrica leaves your body, you’ll need to fully discontinue treatment. Discontinuation should be done gradually under supervision of a medical professional. Understand that the sooner you stop taking the drug, the quicker you can expect to have completely cleared it from your body.
  2. Urinary flow rate + pH: Expediting the excretion speed of Lyrica may be accomplished by increasing urinary flow rate and lowering urinary pH. Urinary flow rate can be increased by staying well-hydrated, whereas urinary pH can be lowered via acidification. Though increasing urinary flow rate and lowering pH may not make a huge difference in excretion speed, it could make a minor one.
  3. Activated charcoal: A useful supplement that can be taken to help detoxify your system after stopping Lyrica is activated charcoal. Obviously you wouldn’t want to take the activated charcoal until the pregabalin has been fully excreted after your final dose. Taking activated charcoal too soon may affect absorption of your final dose and result in premature withdrawal. However, when administered later, activated charcoal can bind to toxins and remnants of the drug if you suspect that it may be lingering within your body after you’ve stopped.

How long has Lyrica stayed in your system after stopping?

If you’ve stopped taking Lyrica, share a comment regarding how long you think it stayed in your body after your last dose. Do you think it stayed in your body for a longer time than usual or was excreted much quicker than average? Share factors that may have affected its elimination half-life in your body such as: renal function, your age, and the dosage of Lyrica you took.

Understand that since Lyrica is highly hydrophilic, there is unlikely to be major interindividual variation in excretion times. Most users will retain the drug for approximately 1.44 days after their final dose. In other words, the drug should be fully excreted from your body (mostly via urine) within 48 hours of your final dose. Only if you have compromised renal function could the excretion exceed 2 days.


3 Shares By The Recovery Village Editor Camille Renzoni Reviewer Benjamin Caleb Williams Updated on04/18/19

Drinking alcohol while taking medications can cause several unsafe and potentially deadly side effects. One medication that people may sometimes take while they are using alcohol is Lyrica.

Lyrica, also called pregabalin, is a medication that helps with nerve pain and can prevent seizures. It acts by activating receptors within the brain and changing the way that signals are transmitted along nerves. As both alcohol and Lyrica affect similar receptors in the brain, combining them can lead to serious side effects.

Side Effects of Mixing Alcohol and Lyrica

Mixing alcohol and Lyrica creates side effects because of the way that they both act in the brain. While they do not work in the same way, their actions are similar enough that both of these substances will increase the effects of the other.

The symptoms that a person experiences when they have been drinking alcohol will be stronger with the same amount of alcohol use if they take Lyrica at the same time. It also means that if a person has side effects from Lyrica, they are likely to be worse if they drink alcohol, even if the dose is the same.

Common side effects of mixing Lyrica and alcohol include:

  • Sleepiness and dizziness: This side effect is the one most prominent in the warnings provided by the manufacturer of Lyrica and by the National Institute of Health (NIH). This sleepiness and dizziness can lead to a lack of coordination and sedation. It may also interfere with the ability to stay awake for important activities such as work.
  • Increased risk of injury: As the intoxicating effects of alcohol are increased and dizziness and sleepiness are added to these effects, the risk of injury becomes much greater. This risk is greatest when someone who is combining these substances is involved in a potentially dangerous activity, such as driving or swimming.
  • Onset or worsening of depression: A possible side effect of Lyrica that may occur when mixed with alcohol is depression. Alcohol has been known to contribute to depression in some people, and as these two substances increase the effects of each other, depression may become more pronounced. A person may even develop suicidal thoughts or actions. People who are most at risk for this serious side effect include those who have underlying depression or those who already sometimes experience depression as a side effect of alcohol or Lyrica use.

Key Points: Lyrica and Alcohol

Mixing Lyrica and alcohol can cause side effects that may be dangerous or lead to dangerous situations. Some of the dangers of mixing alcohol and Lyrica include:

  • Increased risk of sleepiness or dizziness
  • Decreased ability to participate in normal activities
  • Increased risk of injury
  • Depression
  • Risk of suicidal thoughts or actions

Avoid using alcohol and Lyrica together under any circumstances unless a physician says otherwise. Only use Lyrica to help with alcohol cravings if directed to do so by a doctor and in conditions where your doctor can monitor the effects of mixing these two substances.

There has been a small amount of research into using Lyrica to treat alcoholism, however, the use of Lyrica for alcoholism is not a typical treatment or a common use for Lyrica.

If you or a loved one struggle with Lyrica misuse or alcohol abuse or are taking these two substances within the same 24 hour period, don’t wait to seek professional help. The Recovery Village offers high-quality treatment for drug abuse and alcohol addiction. Reach out to one of our caring professionals today to see how we can help you start your road to recovery.

Medscape. “Pregabalin (Rx).” 2018. Accessed April 10, 2019.

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. “Harmful Interactions: Mixing Alcohol With Medicines.” 2014. Accessed April 10, 2019. “Frequently Asked Questions.” 2019. Accessed April 10, 2019.

Martinotti, G, et al. “Efficacy and Safety of Pregabalin in Alcohol Dependence.” Advances in Therapy, June 2008. Accessed April 10, 2019.


Lyrica and Alcohol

People with anxiety, epilepsy or fibromyalgia are often prescribed Lyrica which is a relatively new medication. Patients taking Lyrica should be aware of the possible danger alcohol could pose to their lives.

Can I Drink While on Lyrica?

Most doctors will apprise patients of the danger of drinking while on Lyrica. It can have serious affects on the body, but most doctors will allow moderate alcohol drinking.

Moderate drinking is relative for everyone but is considered two drinks a day for a man and one drink a day for a woman. The alcoholic content of drinks does vary so patients should talk with their doctor about what is considered “one” alcoholic drink. In most cases twelve ounces of beer, five ounces of wine or one and a half ounces of eighty proof whiskey is considered one alcoholic drink. It is very important that patients are aware of the effects alcohol can have when combined with Lyrica before drinking.

Lyrica and Alcohol Interactions

When Lyrica and alcohol interact they can cause very serious effects. For most people Lyrica will enhance the side effects of alcohol and cause what is often referred to as a “high”.

Side effects such as dizziness, drowsiness and coordination problems will be much more prevalent while taking Lyrica. Impaired judgment can also be increased while taking Lyrica. Patients should only drink moderately and monitor their body’s reaction to alcohol to remain safe. There can also be even more dangerous interactions with Lyrica if alochol is drunk in excess.

Central Nevous System Depression

In some extreme cases when Lyrica and alcohol were mixed, it caused central nervous system depression, or CNS depression. CNS depression is when the central nervous system, namely the spinal cord and brain, experience malfunctions due to chemical compounds in the system. This can result in minor issues like impaired judgment or motor skills. In extreme cases it interrupts the body’s ability to complete necessary functions, like breathing. Patients taking Lyrica who consumed a large amount of alcohol were more likely to experience CNS depression than those who drank moderately.

Patients should be prepared for the possible interactions of Lyrica if they plan to drink. It is never safe to drive under the influence of alcohol, but Lyrica patients should be especially careful because of their increased sensitivity. Lyrica patients should also not drink alone. They should always have someone with them who is aware of the possible interactions and will take care of them, should the need arise. If the patient begins to experience CNS depression it is extremely important to have someone nearby that can call for help. Patients should also be wary the first time they drink alcohol after starting Lyrica.

Patients taking Lyrica should consult with their doctor before partaking in any kind of alcohol. It is very important that patients are aware of the risks and side effects that can occur with this combination. Lyrica is a safe medication if taken under that right circumstances and monitored carefully.

LYRICA (Pregabalin) Dosage And Administration

Dosage And Administration

Dosing Considerations

Patients with Impaired Renal Function

Pregabalin is primarily eliminated from the systemic circulation by renal excretion as unchanged drug. In some elderly patients and those with a medical history of significant renal insufficiency, daily dosages should be reduced accordingly (see Dosage Adjustment Based on Renal Function, below).

In accordance with current clinical practice, if LYRICA (pregabalin) has to be discontinued, it is recommended this should be done gradually over a minimum of 1 week (see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS, Abrupt or Rapid Discontinuation).


Neuropathic Pain Associated with Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy

The recommended starting dose for LYRICA is 150 mg/day, given in two or three divided doses (75 mg BID or 50 mg TID), with or without food in patients with a creatinine clearance rate of at least 60 mL/min. Efficacy of LYRICA has been demonstrated within the first week. Based on individual patient response and tolerability, the dose may be increased to 150 mg BID (300 mg/day) after one week.

For patients who experience significant and ongoing pain and can tolerate pregabalin 300 mg/day well, maximum daily dose of 600 mg (300 mg twice a day, BID) can be used. However, in clinical trials, LYRICA 600 mg/day did not provide additional significant efficacy and patients treated with this dose experienced markedly higher rates of adverse events and discontinued the trial more frequently (see ADVERSE REACTIONS, Tables 1 and 5). Doses above 600 mg/day have not been studied and are not recommended.

Neuropathic Pain Associated with Postherpetic Neuralgia

The recommended starting dose for LYRICA is 150 mg/day, given in two or three divided doses (75 mg BID or 50 mg TID), with or without food in patients with a creatinine clearance rate of at least 60 mL/min. Efficacy of LYRICA has been demonstrated within the first week. Based on individual patient response and tolerability, the dose may be increased to 150 mg BID (300 mg/day) after one week.

For patients who experience significant and ongoing pain and can tolerate pregabalin 300 mg/day well, maximum daily dose of 600 mg (300 mg twice a day, BID) can be used. However, in clinical trials, LYRICA 600 mg/day did not provide additional significant efficacy and patients treated with this dose experienced markedly higher rates of adverse events and discontinued the trial more frequently (see ADVERSE REACTIONS, Tables 3 and 6). Doses above 600 mg/day have not been studied and are not recommended.

Neuropathic Pain Associated with Spinal Cord Injury

The recommended starting dose for LYRICA is 150 mg/day, given in two divided doses (75 mg BID), with or without food in patients with a creatinine clearance rate of at least 60 mL/min. Efficacy of LYRICA has been demonstrated within the first week. Based on individual patient response and tolerability, the dose may be increased to 150 mg BID (300 mg/day) after one week.

For patients who experience significant and ongoing pain and can tolerate pregabalin 300 mg/day well, a maximum daily dose of 600 mg (300 mg twice a day, BID) may be considered. Doses above 600 mg/day have not been studied and are not recommended.

Pain Associated with Fibromyalgia

The recommended dosage is 300 to 450 mg/day, given in two divided doses. The recommended starting dose for LYRICA is 150 mg/day, given in two divided doses (75 mg BID), with or without food in patients with a creatinine clearance rate of at least 60 mL/min. Based on individual response and tolerability, the dose may be increased to 150 mg BID (300 mg/day) after one week. Patients who do not experience sufficient benefit with 300 mg/day may be further increased to 225 mg BID (450 mg/day). In some patients, efficacy of LYRICA has been demonstrated within the first week.

For patients who experience significant and ongoing pain and can tolerate pregabalin 300 mg/day well, maximum daily dose of 600 mg (300 mg twice a day, BID) can be used. However, in clinical trials of fibromyalgia, LYRICA 600 mg/day did not provide additional significant efficacy and patients treated with this dose experienced significantly higher rates of adverse events and discontinued the trial more frequently (see ADVERSE REACTIONS, Tables 7 and 10). In view of the dose-related adverse events, the decision to treat patients with doses above 450 mg/day should be based on clinical judgment of the treating physician. Doses above 600 mg/day have not been studied and are not recommended.

Dosage Adjustment Based on Renal Function

LYRICA is primarily eliminated by renal excretion. Therefore, the dose should be adjusted for patients with reduced renal function. Pregabalin clearance is directly proportional to creatinine clearance. Therefore, dosing adjustment should be based on creatinine clearance (CLCr), as indicated in Table 13.

To use this dosing table, an estimate of the patient’s creatinine clearance (CLCr) in mL/min is needed. CLCr in mL/min may be estimated from serum creatinine (mg/dL) determination using the Cockcroft and Gault equation:

CLCr= x weight(kg) ( x 0.85 for female patients)
72 x serum creatinine (mg/dL)

Pregabalin is effectively removed from plasma by hemodialysis. Over a 4-hour hemodialysis treatment, plasma pregabalin concentrations are reduced by approximately 50%. For patients receiving hemodialysis, pregabalin daily dose should be adjusted based on renal function. In addition to the daily dose adjustment, a supplemental dose should be given immediately following every 4-hour hemodialysis treatment (see Table 13).

Table 13. Pregabalin Dosage Adjustment Based on Renal Function

Clearance (CLcr)

Total Pregabalin Daily Dose (mg/day)a

Recommended Dose Escalation*

Dose Regimen

Starting Dose

up to

Maximum daily dose







Supplementary dosage following hemodialysis (mg)b

Patients on the 25 mg QD regimen: take one supplemental dose of 25 mg or 50 mg
Patients on the 25-50 mg QD regimen: take one supplemental dose of 50 mg or 75 mg
Patients on the 50-75 mg QD regimen: take one supplemental dose of 75 mg or 100 mg
Patients on the 75 mg QD regimen: take one supplemental dose of 100 mg or 150 mg

TID = Three divided doses; BID = Two divided doses; QD = Single daily dose.
* Based on individual patient response and tolerability.
a Total daily dose (mg/day) should be divided as indicated by dose regimen to provide mg/dose.
b Supplementary dose is a single additional dose.

Geriatrics (> 65 years): Pregabalin oral clearance tended to decrease with increasing age. This decrease in pregabalin oral clearance is consistent with age-related decreases in creatinine clearance. Reduction of pregabalin dose may be required in patients who have age-related compromised renal function.

Pediatrics (<18 years of age): The safety and efficacy of pregabalin in pediatric patients (<18 years of age) have not been established and its use in this patient population is not recommended.


LYRICA (pregabalin) is given orally with or without food (see DRUG INTERACTIONS, Drug Food Interactions).

Pregabalin, capsules, 25 mg, 75 mg, 150 mg and 300 mg, Lyrica® – March 2012

The PBAC noted two issues in the economic model that were important sources of uncertainty in the submission’s calculated ICER: the derivation of the transition probabilities over the duration of the model from a cross-sectional subset of the survey responses and the lack of information from patients with head and neck pain to inform the estimates of utility gains. The PBAC acknowledged however that the model correctly adjusted the utility gains for placebo responses. The Pre-PBAC Response provided additional trial-based economic evaluations but the PBAC considered that these did not reflect sufficiently the issues of concern and additional sensitivity analyses would have been helpful.

The Committee considered that the key issue was that the financial forecasts were underestimated and that there was huge potential for use outside the restriction (e.g. for fibromyalgia). Also, even with the restriction, the estimates of numbers of patients likely to be prescribed pregabalin depend on prevalence of neuropathic pain in the Australian community, for which there are no precise estimates. The PBAC acknowledged the proposal for a risk-sharing arrangement to be developed to mitigate the risk of pregabalin being prescribed at higher doses than expected, as well as the risk of a higher number of patients than anticipated.

The PBAC considered there were uncertain inputs into a structurally complex economic model coupled with forecasts for total costs that were likely to be underestimates. However, the PBAC accepted the clinical need for an alternative to current treatments for neuropathic pain.

The PBAC recommended the listing of pregabalin on the PBS as an Authority Required (Streamlined) benefit for the treatment of refractory neuropathic pain not controlled by other drugs on the basis of acceptable cost-effectiveness compared with placebo in patients dissatisfied with their current pain relief.

The PBAC agreed with the sponsor that pregabalin was superior to placebo and non-inferior to amitriptyline/gabapentin. The PBAC acknowledged the difficulty of modelling future use and future cost-effectiveness of pregabalin. The PBAC remained concerned about the potential for use beyond the estimates presented in the submission.

The PBAC considered that is was essential that the DUSC review usage 12 months after PBS listing.

The PBAC recommended that pregabalin is suitable for inclusion in the PBS medicines for prescribing by nurse practitioners within collaborative arrangements as continuing therapy only.


PREGABALIN, capsules, 25 mg, 75 mg, 150 mg and 300 mg


Authority Required (STREAMLINED)

Refractory neuropathic pain not controlled by other drugs.

Continuing Therapy Only:
For prescribing by nurse practitioners as continuing therapy only, where the treatment of, and prescribing of medicine for, a patient has been initiated by a medical practitioner. Further information can be found in the Explanatory Notes for Nurse Practitioners.

Max quantity: 56

Repeats: 5

13. Context for Decision

The PBAC helps decide whether and, if so, how medicines should be subsidised in Australia. It considers submissions in this context. A PBAC decision not to recommend listing or not to recommend changing a listing does not represent a final PBAC view about the merits of the medicine. A company can resubmit to the PBAC or seek independent review of the PBAC decision.

14. Sponsor’s Comment

Pfizer welcomes the PBAC’s decision and looks forward to working with the Department to achieve PBS listing for pregabalin for treatment of patients with neuropathic pain.

Before You Take Lyrica

Always make sure your doctor knows about all the other medications you are taking. This includes over-the-counter drugs, as well as herbs and supplements. Some prescription medicines may interact with Lyrica and may lead to dangerous side effects. Such drugs include:

  • Blood pressure medicines called ACE inhibitors; taking Lyrica with these medicines increases your chance for swelling and hives.
  • Diabetes medicines Avandia (rosiglitazone) or Actos (pioglitazone); if you take these drugs with Lyrica, you may have a higher risk for swelling or weight gain.
  • Narcotic pain medicines (such as oxycodone), anxiety medicines (such as lorazepam), and tranquilizers; combining these drugs with Lyrica increases your chances for dizziness and sleepiness.
  • Sleep medicines make you nod off, and Lyrica can cause drowsiness. Combining the two can be dangerous.

Do not drink alcohol when on Lyrica. Doing so can increase Lyrica’s side effects and make you dangerously sleepy.

Also tell your doctor if you have any other medical conditions, including:

  • Bleeding disorders or low platelet counts
  • Heart problems
  • Kidney problems or if you receive kidney dialysis (a lower dose of Lyrica is needed if you have kidney problems)

Women who are breastfeeding, pregnant, or planning to become pregnant, should talk to their doctor about whether Lyrica is right for them. Researchers do not know if Lyrica is safe to take during pregnancy, or if it passes into breast milk.


Lyrica Side Effects: Is It Bad For You?

Short and long-term symptoms you shouldn’t ignore if you’ve taken Lyrica recently

Written by: Enjuris Editors Lyrica is a popular anticonvulsant used to treat neuropathic pain, fibromyalgia, post-herpetic peripheral neuropathy, and other conditions. It has also been known to cause serious and long-term side effects. Read on to see if your symptoms merit a visit to your doctor’s office or a law firm.

Lyrica, the brand name for pregabalin, is an antiepileptic drug (also known as “anticonvulsant”) intended to help treat peripheral neuropathy caused by diabetes or other types of nerve pain like shingles, spinal cord injury, nerve pain, postherpetic neuralgia, partial onset seizures in epileptic adults, and fibromyalgia.
Those are the conditions approved by the Food and Drug Administration, anyway. However, Lyrica is also prescribed by doctors for off-label conditions like anxiety, pain from osteoarthritis, and chronic low back pain.

Common Lyrica side effects

Doctors warn patients that they might experience some variety of the following symptoms after taking Lyrica:

  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of balance or coordination
  • Ataxia
  • Constipation
  • Dry mouth
  • Edema
  • Breast swelling
  • Tremors
  • Blurry vision
  • Weight gain
  • Memory or concentration problems

These side effects (drowsiness, in particular) may increase if the patient consumes alcohol or drugs in conjunction with their Lyrica regimen.

Lyrica causes side effects ranging from dizziness to memory loss to fatigue. Are your symptoms actually side effects? Tweet this

More serious side effects that have been reported with Lyrica include, but are not limited to:

  • Allergic reactions (difficulty breathing or swelling of face, lips, tongue or throat)
  • Mood and behavior changes
  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Impulsivity
  • Irritability
  • Agitation
  • Hostility
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Aggression
  • Restlessness
  • Hyperactivity (both mental and physical)
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts or thoughts of self-harm
  • Muscle pain, weakness or tenderness
  • Fever
  • Vision problems
  • Easy bleeding or bruising
  • Swelling in hands or feet
  • Rapid weight gain

Why is Lyrica prescribed for so many conditions?

Gabapentinoids, the class of medication to which Lyrica belongs, are increasingly being prescribed for conditions that they’re not approved to treat. This is thought to be a reflex to the growing opioid epidemic; doctors avoid prescribing opioids by offering gabapentinoids, instead. Lyrica and other gabapentinoids are offered as a first-line treatment when lesser interventions don’t work.

Enjuris tip: If your doctor recommends a gabapentinoid regimen, make sure to do your research and find out if the pros outweigh the cons.

Sadly, this doesn’t reduce the potential for abuse, as discovered in random urine tests.
One in five patients found to be taking Gabapentin, a similar medication to Lyrica, were doing so without a prescription. Pfizer, which manufactures both Neurontin (the brand name for gabapentin) and Lyrica, has paid billions of dollars in fines to the FDA for illegal marketing activities. According to the U.S. Justice Department, a case over four Pfizer drugs for illegal marketing led to the biggest fine in American history‚ for any legal matter, not just drug violations. In the end, the pharmaceutical giant was forced to pay $2.3 billion.

Using Lyrica without a prescription can lead to psychedelic highs. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency classifies it as Schedule V, so it’s easier to obtain a prescription because it’s considered to have a lower potential for abuse. It operates on both the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and dopaminergic reward systems in the body, which can create euphoria, sedation, marijuana-like highs, and dissociative effects.

Physicians have lowered their thresholds for prescribing drugs like these because more patients are experiencing non-cancer pain that would otherwise be treated with opioids. In today’s medical climate, doctors are wary of prescribing too many opioids, which has led to an increase in gabapentinoid prescriptions. There are few other options, and when NSAIDs or acetaminophen don’t achieve the desired results, gabapentinoids are typically the next step.

Marketing practices don’t help this situation either, as manufacturers conduct massive campaigns to reach the ears and eyes of patients and their doctors. As of 2016, pregabalin was the 10th most prescribed medication in the United States, which translated to 64 million prescriptions. That was an increase of 39 million from 2012.

How many off-label uses does Lyrica have? Way too many, according to researchers.
Tweet this

Some physicians are concerned with this development for the following reasons:

  • While scientific evidence supports the efficacy of some drugs for off-label uses, this hasn’t been the case for gabapentinoids. Researchers found that clinical studies of gabapentinoids for pain control only examined the mitigation of postoperative pain, which isn’t pain that the general population experiences. Lyrica is most often prescribed for common, everyday pain, which hasn’t been fully studied. For instance, a placebo-controlled trial showed that pregabalin was ineffective for sciatica patients. There were also limited evidence in studies of its efficacy for chronic low back pain.
  • Pregabalin has nontrivial side effects, such as dizziness and sedation. Up to 40% of patients taking this drug reported dizziness, compared to 13% on a placebo regimen. Since gabapentinoids are often prescribed with other medications that affect the central nervous system, these side effects can be intensified.
  • Patients misuse and abuse pregabalin and gabapentin. Withdrawal often occurs after doses are stopped.
  • Indiscriminate off-label use reinforces the viewing of pain as something that can be solved by medication when patients should focus on other interventions.

Since gabapentinoids are touted as the “safer” alternative to opioids, this trend is likely to continue. Additionally, the American Pain Society recommended that gabapentin be considered for post-operative pain relief, which doesn’t help the majority of patients. This was endorsed by the American Society for Regional Anaesthesia.

What to do if you think Lyrica is causing side effects

If you’ve been affected by Lyrica and are suffering side effects, you should first speak to your doctor. Then, talk to an attorney who handles bad drug lawsuits. He or she can advise you as to possible courses of legal action and determine whether you can recover damages.

How do you hire the right lawyer? Start by reading the following articles and using this handy personal injury attorney interview sheet.

Personal Injury Attorney Interview Sheet
Worksheet with questions to ask a personal injury attorney to help determine if he or she will be a good fit for your case
Download in PDF format

Also be sure to read the following articles for more information:

  • Negotiating lawyers fees – how do accident lawyers charge? Are there any hidden costs?
  • Preparing to meet with a personal injury attorney
  • How damages are calculated

Downloads: Free personal injury guides for download to print or save. View all downloads. Tell your story: Tell your story – What would you want others to know? Tell us what happened in your accident, and how life has changed for you. Find an attorney: Search our directory for personal injury law firms.
See our guide Choosing a personal injury attorney.

About the author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *