Pregabalin (brand name Lyrica) is an anticonvulsant medication used to treat neuropathic, or nerve, pain related to multiple sclerosis and other conditions. Pregabalin decreases the number of pain signals transmitted by damaged nerves in the body.
Pregabalin is taken orally, usually two or three times a day (with or without food), and should be taken around the same time each day. While it can help to control pain, it will not treat or cure the underlying condition. Several weeks of use may be needed for the full benefits of pregabalin to be felt.
Pregabalin should not be stopped abruptly when pain symptoms ease, or withdrawal symptoms may appear, such as sleep disorders, nausea, diarrhea and headaches. Rather, under a doctor’s advice, dosage is gradually decreased. Because it can be addictive, anyone using pregabalin is advised to strictly follow the prescribed dosage.
Common side effects can include dizziness, drowsiness, loss of balance or coordination, memory and concentration problems, swelling of the breasts, tremors, dry mouth, and constipation.
There is no generic version of pregabalin available.
Pain can have a significant negative impact on the quality of life for people with MS. A combination of medicine and positive lifestyle changes, such as exercise and staying active, massages, chiropractic treatments, hydrotherapy, and acupuncture, may be of benefit.
Over-the-counter analgesics are typically not enough to ease the pain caused by nerve damage in the central nervous system, so drugs like pregabalin that treat seizures (phenytoin, gabapentin, carbamazepine), antidepressants (amitriptyline, nortriptyline), and some benzodiazepines (clonazepam) are common first choices for pain management in MS.
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