What is Pregabalin?

Pregabalin is one of number of anti seizure medications (Anti-epileptic) and is often referred to as the new version of Gabapentin. For those with deeper medical understanding Pregabalin is new synthetic molecule and a structural derivative of the inhibitory neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). It was found that prolonged application of pregabalin increases the density of GABA transporter protein as well as the rate of functional GABA transport in cultured neurons.

Pregabalin in the UK

It is unlikely that Pregabalin would be the first medicine prescribed under the NHS due to its cost in comparison to other drugs like Amatryptiline.

Other Names

Lyrica ®

How it works

The exact way Pregabalin works is actually unknown however it is believed to work by calming damaged or overactive nerves that cause pain or seizures. Pregabalin works differently to Amitryptaline and Duloxetine as it has no involvement with serotonin and dopamine receptors and does not inhibit dopamine, serotonin, or noradrenaline reuptake. It seems to also work to benefit other conditions but the common denominator seems to be that it works well in patients experiencing Neruopathic Pain.

Various clinical trials were conducted in the USA and there findings indicated that Pregabalin helped Fibromyalgia sufferers with one or more of the symptoms of Fibromyalgia. It was shown that Pregabalin could help reduce the overall pain, assist sufferers get better sleep therefore reducing overall daily fatigue and helped with overall vitality. In 2007 Pregabalin was approved by the USA FDA (Food & Drug administration) for the treatment of Fibromyalgia and I believe I am correct in saying it was the first drug to be approved for the “on label” use by Fibromyalgia patients.

These anti epileptic drugs are used to reduce the level of pain signals sent due to excess neuron firing as part if the central nervous system. Neuronal activity in the brain can be modified by the presence of excitatory or inhibitory neurotransmitters, which exist in balance in the nervous system. The ratio of these chemicals determines how likely it is that a neuron will fire. Two major excitatory neurotransmitters are amino acids: glutamate and aspartate. Two main inhibitory neurotransmitters are glycine, another amino acid, and GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid), a derivative of glutamate. The excitatory chemicals increase the charge of neurons, while inhibitory ones make the neurons more negatively charged (less likely to fire). When neurons fire, they release other neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine. This means that the decrease in serotonin levels often seen in Fibromyalgia patients could possibly be a result of altered GABA function. The excitatory/inhibitory neurotransmitter balance acts as a master regulator of the sensitivity of the nervous system.

Dosage

You would normally start at around 50mg twice or three times a day and after time steadily increase up to a maximum of 450mg in total for the day.

How long it takes to work

Again there is no clear answer however it seems to take at least a week for patients to notice the benefits.

Side Effects

The most common side effects are dizziness and sleepiness however Pregabalin can be used to assist in helping people with sleep problems. There is some evidence to show that side effects do get better in time, normally between two to six weeks. Other side effects include a dry mouth, swelling of the hands and feet blurred vision, weight gain, trouble concentrating, and feeling “high.” Personally I found very little in terms of side effects and the only thing I noticed was that I started to feel sick when approaching the time to take the next dose. I am also not the best person when it comes to taking tablets on time so I found that I felt sick for a few hours and could not attribute it to anything until I realised I had forgotten to take my next dose. Any drug has side effects and your Doctor can help you manage them during your treatment however some side effects may be serious. If you experience any rash, itching, swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, or eyes, hoarseness, difficulty swallowing or breathing or seizures then call your doctor immediately:

More information on Pregabalin from Pfizer in the USA
Pregabalin on patient.co.uk
Pregabalin on netdoctor.co.uk

This page will contain information on medications used in the treatment of Fibromyalgia and some of my personal experiences using them. This page is for information only. It is not medical advice and everyone considering taking any medication should discuss the matter with their doctor first. If you have been prescribed any of these drugs, make sure you read the documentation with them, as this section is not meant to be a substitute for this important process.