Know Your Pain Medicine Pt 4
Pregabalin is used to treat many types of chronic pain. It is especially good for nerve pain, such as burning, shooting or stabbing pain. Pregabalin belongs to a group of medicines called anticonvulsants which are also used to treat epilepsy. Pregabalin works by changing the amount of specific nerve transmitters in the nervous system, reducing pain messages arriving in the brain.
When should I take it?
Normally, the starting dose is small and may be taken between one and three times a day, but the dose will be gradually increased. Normally a minimum dose of pregabalin 75mg twice a day is needed to get any benefit and the dose may need to be increased to pregabalin 300mg twice a day. You will be told how much to start taking and how to increase the dose.
If you are taking antacid medication, it is best to wait for two hours after taking it, before taking Pregabalin.
How long will it take to work?
Every patient is different. You may notice some initial benefit within a few days, however it may take up to 1 month for a full effect. You will need to increase the dose for Pregabalin to be effective.
Pregabalin does not work for everyone. If you do not feel any improvement in your pain after 4-6 weeks, do not suddenly stop taking the tablets but speak to your doctor to discuss reducing and stopping the medication.
What are the possible side effects?
Most side effects are mild and it is expected that they will reduce after several days. Generally side effects are more troublesome just after starting pregabalin or increasing the dose. It is important to persist in taking pregabalin as these side effects usually wear off.
Common side effects include; drowsiness, dizziness, fatigue and muscle tremor. If you have these side effects and they are severe contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
Less common side effects include vision disturbances, indigestion, weight gain, leg swelling, memory loss, euphoria, mood changes, hallucinations or rash. If any of these side effects occur, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
Some people develop severe anxiety if they miss a dose and some take more than prescribed to help their symptoms. Pregabalin can be addictive. If you are worried this is happening to you, discuss it with your doctor.
What if I want to stop taking pregabalin?
If you stop taking pregablin suddenly, you might experience withdrawal symptoms. Speak to your healthcare professional (doctor, nurse, pharmacist) who will be able to supervise a gradual reduction.