What Lyrica is used for
Lyrica is used to treat neuropathic pain, which is pain caused by an abnormality of, or damage to, the nerves.
Lyrica is also used to control epilepsy. Epilepsy is a condition where you have repeated seizures (fits). There are many different types of seizures, ranging from mild to severe.
Lyrica belongs to a group of medicines called anticonvulsants. These medicines are thought to work by controlling brain chemicals which send signals to nerves so that seizures do not happen.
Lyrica also has pain relieving effects.
Lyrica may be used alone, or in combination with other medicines, to treat your condition.
Your doctor may prescribe Lyrica in addition to your current therapy when your current treatment is no longer working as well as before.
Ask your doctor if you have any questions about why Lyrica has been prescribed for you. Your doctor may have prescribed it for another reason.
This medicine is available only with a doctor’s prescription.
Use in Children
There is not enough information to recommend the use of this medicine in children under the age of 18 years.
Before you take Lyrica
When you must not take it
Do not take Lyrica if you have an allergy to:
- pregabalin, the active ingredient in Lyrica, or
- any of the ingredients listed at the end of this leaflet.
Some of the symptoms of an allergic reaction may include:
- shortness of breath, wheezing or difficulty breathing
- swelling of the face, lips, tongue or other parts of the body
- rash, itching or hives on the skin.
Do not take this medicine after the expiry date printed on the pack or if the packaging is torn or shows signs of tampering. If the capsules have expired or the pack is damaged, return to your pharmacist for disposal.
If you are not sure whether you should start taking this medicine, talk to your doctor.
Before you start to take it
Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have allergies to:
- any other medicines, especially barbiturates or any other anticonvulsant medicines
- any other substances, such as foods, preservatives or dyes.
Tell your doctor if you have or have had any of the following medical conditions:
- congestive heart failure
- hereditary problems with galactose metabolism
- kidney problems
- a history of substance abuse
Tell your doctor if you have a history of substance abuse. There have been reported cases of misuse and abuse with Lyrica.
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Lyrica is not recommended for use during pregnancy. However, if you have epilepsy, it is very important to control your fits while you are pregnant. If it is necessary for you to take Lyrica, your doctor can help you decide whether or not to take it during pregnancy.
Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding or plan to breast-feed. The active ingredient in Lyrica passes into breast milk and its safety in infants is unknown. It is recommended that you do not breast-feed while taking Lyrica.
If you have not told your doctor about any of the above, tell them before you start taking Lyrica.
Taking other medicines
Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking any other medicines, including:
- all prescription medicines
- all medicines, vitamins, herbal supplements or natural therapies you buy without a prescription from a pharmacy, supermarket, naturopath or health food shop.
Some medicines may be affected by Lyrica or may affect how well it works. You may need different amounts of your medicines, or you may need to take different medicines. Your doctor will advise you.
Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking any of the following:
- oxycodone, morphine or codeine, pain relievers called opioid analgesics
- lorazepam, a medicine used to treat anxiety
- medicines used to treat allergies (antihistamines)
- medicines used to treat certain psychiatric disorders.
Taking these medicines together with Lyrica may increase your chance of experiencing side effects. You may need different amounts of your medicine, or you may need to take different medicines. Your doctor or pharmacist will advise you.
Your doctor and pharmacist have more information on medicines to be careful with or avoid while taking Lyrica.
How to take Lyrica
Follow all directions given to you by your doctor carefully. They may differ from the information contained in this leaflet.
If you do not understand the instructions on the box, ask your doctor or pharmacist for help.
How much to take
Your doctor will tell you how many capsules you need to take each day. This may depend on your age, your condition and whether or not you are taking any other medicines.
Your doctor may recommend that you start with a low dose of Lyrica and slowly increase the dose to the lowest amount needed to control your epilepsy/convulsions or neuropathic pain.
The usual dose range is 150 mg per day to 600 mg per day given in two divided doses.
How to take it
Swallow the capsules whole with a full glass of water.
When to take it
Take your medicine at about the same time each day. Taking it at the same time each day will have the best effect. It will also help you remember when to take it.
It does not matter if you take this medicine before or after food.
How long to take it
Continue taking your medicine for as long as your doctor tells you.
This medicine helps to control your condition, but does not cure it. It is important to keep taking your medicine, even if you feel well.
Do not stop taking Lyrica, or lower the dosage, without checking with your doctor. Do not let yourself run out of medicine over the weekend or on holidays. Stopping Lyrica suddenly may worsen your condition or cause unwanted effects such as sleeplessness, headache, nausea (feeling sick), anxiety, excessive sweating or diarrhoea (runny stools). If appropriate, your doctor will slowly reduce your dose before you can stop taking it completely.