Pregabalin (Lyrica) is a drug normally prescribed to calm the nervous system in epilepsy or an anxiety disorder. Lately, some users take it as a drug (“poor man’s drug”), which worries the health authorities.
[Mise à jour le 3 mai 2023 à 12h41] Pregabalin, active substance of the drug Lyrica®is used in adults in the treatment of peripheral and central neuropathic pain, in combination in the treatment of epilepsy partial with or without secondary generalization, as well as in the Generalized Anxiety Disorder treatment (TAG). It can normally only be obtained on prescription, but its use is diverted to be used as a drug for its disinhibiting effect and especially in the big cities (Marseille, Toulouse, Paris…). Her ridiculous price (2 euros tablet) earned him the nickname of “poor man’s drug”“But this misuse is dangerous for health.”The dosage is 25mg, there people use it at 300mg so it’s a high dose (…). Taking this medication exposes people in real danger of death“, warns Dr. Saïd Ouichou interviewed by France info on April 30, 2023. This medicinal product also has a addiction risk. So what are the side effects of pregabalin?
What is the definition of pregabalin?
Pregabalin is a drug that replaces (or is an analog of) a natural neurotransmitter (substance allowing the transmission of information at the level of neurons) : THE GABA (gamma-amino-butyric acid).
GABA is a neurotransmitter that calms the nervous system. “As an analogue of GABA, pregabalin therefore mimics an inhibitory neurotransmitter in neurons and thus makes it possible to compensate for abnormal excitation that may be linked to a pathology“, explains Nathalie Le Guyader, chief pharmacist of the Hospital Group Diaconnesses Croix-Saint-Simon.
What are the indications for pregabalin?
The indications for pregabalin are the treatment in adults :
- Of certain shapes epilepsy partial
- Of the neuropathic pain central or peripheral
- trouble anxious generalized
Initially, pregabalin was developed to be used in epilepsy. Then we used it for neuropathic painthat is to say the sensations related to negative stimulation of central nerve areas (brain) or peripheral (nerves). The best-known example is that of patients who have a shingles and have pain in the area where burning blisters appear, electric shocks…. On these painful nerve areas, analgesics such as paracetamol, analgesics such as tramadol and even morphine are not necessarily effective.
What medicines contain pregabalin?
The medicine that contains pregabalin is lyrica®. Then there are many generics.
What are the conditions for dispensing pregabalin?
As of 2021, pregabalin requires a secure prescription valid for a maximum of 6 months. Indeed, misuses and abuses have been identified with this drug. Discontinuation of the drug will be done with a gradual decrease in dosage.
Pregabalin should not be used during pregnancy unless clearly necessary.
What are the side effects of pregabalin?
The most common side effects of pregabalin are:
- Dizziness, drowsiness.
- THE behavioral or sensory disturbances. “We can feel euphoric Or confused depending on each person’s reaction to the drug, there may also be neurological disorders (tremors, disordered gestures…)”warns Nathalie Le Guyader.
Other side effects may manifest as dry mouth, diarrhoea, loss of taste, blurred vision.
Is pregabalin fattening?
Pregabalin can actually make you fat. “It’s possible, but be careful: it’s not the medicine that makes you fat, but the fact that it increases the patient’s appetite who starts to eat more“, says the pharmacist.
Does pregabalin make you sleep?
Pregabalin can do doze off patients who receive it. It is very frequent (more than 10% of cases) and it calls for vigilance when driving vehicles.
What are the contraindications of pregabalin?
Pregabalin should not be used during pregnancy unless clearly necessary. Patients treated with pregabalin should be informed of the malformative risks associated with taking this medication in case of pregnancy and use a effective contraception throughout their treatment. In June 2022, theMedicines Agency reported data from an observational study that confirmed a risk of malformation linked to exposure to pregabalin during pregnancy multiplied by nearly 1.5 compared to the population not exposed to this drug. For women of childbearing age, it is under effective contraception that it can be prescribed. In view of these new data and following the conclusions of the Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC) of the European Medicines Agency (EMA), information on the risk of major congenital malformations is being update in the Summary of Product Characteristics (SPC) and the patient leaflet. It is also necessary avoiding associations with alcohol or other medications that may cause drowsiness. On the other hand, there is no major contraindication apart from an allergy to this drug.
Thanks to Nathalie Le Guyader, Head of the Pharmacy Department of the Diaconesses Croix Saint-Simon Hospital Group, in Paris
Source: Topiramate, pregabalin and valproate: publication of new data on the risks associated with exposure to these drugs. ANSM. June 29, 2022.