Lyrica Withdrawal Symptoms
What is Lyrica?
Lyrica (pregabalin) is an FDA-approved anti-seizure medication prescribed to treat several conditions including epilepsy, fibromyalgia, and nerve pain. It is a commonly prescribed pain medication in the United States, with over 64 million prescriptions dispensed in 2016.1 Lyrica slows the brain impulses associated with seizures by calming hyperactive neurons and treats pain from nerve damage by altering the chemicals involved in pain signals.2
Some people who take Lyrica feel that the medication induces a state similar to being drunk, while other common side effects include:3
- Impaired balance or coordination
- Blurred vision
- Weight gain
- Memory problems
Lyrica has a high potential for abuse and evidence suggests that some patients develop addictive behaviors toward the drug.4-5 A recent study published in the International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction reports that most people taking Lyrica were unaware of the adverse health consequences associated with its abuse.6
There has been a rapid increase in the recreational abuse of Lyrica in recent years. Users find that they can experience euphoria and feelings of dissociation when they exceed normal therapeutic dosages or use alternative routes of administration, such as inhalation or injection.7 A study published in Emergency Medicine Journal reports a rising number of patients arriving at emergency rooms with adverse symptoms stemming from Lyrica abuse. Several patients presented with seizures while some required intubation and ventilation prior to being admitted to the intensive care unit.8 There is also evidence that taking Lyrica together with other drugs increases the risk of mortality. One study found that Lyrica significantly increased the risk of acute overdose death when combined with opiates such as heroin.9
Lyrica Withdrawal Symptoms
In many cases, you may become dependent on Lyrica and experience withdrawal effects after using the drug for an extended period. Those abusing the drug should slowly taper off Lyrica to prevent the more severe side effects of withdrawal, which can be quite uncomfortable. Sometimes these symptoms may be life-threatening and require medical care.
Signs and symptoms of Lyrica withdrawal include:
- Mood changes
- Suicidal thoughts
- Increased heart rate
- Cravings for the medication
Immediate withdrawal symptoms usually last for about 1-2 days, while residual symptoms can last for several weeks.
Recovery from Lyrica Dependency
If you are seeking help for an addiction to Lyrica, a detox program can be extremely beneficial. Look for a professional detox facility that provides a medically assisted withdrawal protocol will help drug abusers to avoid some of the harsher symptoms of withdrawal during detox. There are also several medications available that may be prescribed by an addiction treatment specialist for easing the withdrawal symptoms associated with Lyrica addiction, including benzodiazepines clonidine.10 After completion of detox, it is important to participate in a formal addiction treatment program such as behavioral therapy.
- Goodman, C.W., & Brett, A.S. (2017). Gabapentin and Pregabalin for Pain-Is Increased Prescribing a Cause for Concern? New England Journal of Medicine, 377(5), 411-414.
- Verma, V., Singh, N., & Singh Jaggi, A. (2014). Pregabalin in neuropathic pain: evidences and possible mechanisms. Current Neuropharmacology, 12(1), 44-56.
- Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD. 2018. Common Side Effects of Lyrica.
- Gahr, M., Franke, B., Freudenmann, R.W., Kölle, M.A., & Schönfeldt-Lecuona, C. (2013). Concerns about pregabalin: further experience with its potential of causing addictive behaviors. Journal of Addiction Medicine, 7(2),147-149.
- Evoy, K.E., Morrison, M.D., & Saklad, S.R. (2017). Abuse and misuse of pregabalin and gabapentin. Drugs, 77(4), 403-426.
- Al-Husseini, A., Wazaify, M., & Van Hout, M.C. (2018). Pregabalin Misuse and Abuse in Jordan: a Qualitative Study of User Experiences. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 16(3), 642–654.
- Schjerning, O., Rosenzweig, M., Pottegård, A., Damkier, P., & Nielsen, J. (2016). Abuse Potential of Pregabalin: A Systematic Review. CNS Drugs, 30(1), 9-25.
- Millar, J., Sadasivan, S., Weatherup, N., & Lutton, S. (2013). Lyrica nights-recreational pregabalin abuse in an urban emergency department. Emergency Medicine Journal, 30(10), 874-874.
- Lyndon, A., Audrey, S., Wells, C., Burnell, E.S., Ingle, S., … & Henderson, G. (2017). Risk to heroin users of polydrug use of pregabalin or gabapentin. Addiction, 112(9), 1580-1589.
- Barrett, J.A., Kittler, L.M., & Singarajah, C. (2015). Acute pregabalin withdrawal: a case report and review of the literature. Southwest Journal of Pulmonary and Critical Care. 10(5), 306-310.