How does it work?
Lyrica capsules and oral solution both contain the active ingredient pregabalin, which is a medicine that is used for three different purposes - treating epilepsy, nerve pain and anxiety.
The way in which pregabalin works is not fully understood. It is thought to work by binding to calcium channels found on nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. This reduces the release of various neurotransmitters from these nerve cells.
Neurotransmitters are natural body chemicals that are stored in nerve cells. They are involved in transmitting messages between the nerve cells. Pregabalin is thought to reduce the release of neurotransmitters called glutamate, noradrenaline and substance P.
Glutamate is a neurotransmitter that acts as a natural 'nerve-exciting' agent. It is released when electrical signals build up in nerve cells and subsequently excites more nerve cells. It is thought to play a key role in causing epileptic seizures. Reducing the release of glutamate from the nerve cells in the brain is thought to help stabilise the electrical activity in the brain and prevent epileptic fits.
Pregabalin is used as an add-on treatment for adults whose epilepsy has not been well controlled by other anti-epileptic medicines. It is used to prevent partial seizures, and partial seizures that spread to secondary generalised seizures.
Glutamate, substance P and noradrenaline are also involved in transmitting pain signals in the brain and nervous system. As pregabalin reduces the release of these neurotransmitters it can also be used to treat nerve pain occuring as a result of damage to or a disturbance in the function of nerves (neuropathic pain). It can be used for peripheral neuropathic pain, ie nerve pain in the hands, legs or feet, or central neuropathic pain, eg as a result of a spinal cord injury.
Pregabalin can also used to treat generalised anxiety disorder, which is another condition thought to involve overactivity of glutamate, substance P and noradrenaline in the brain.
What is it used for?
Epilepsy - used as an add-on therapy for adults with partial seizures with or without secondary generalisation.
Nerve pain (peripheral and central neuropathic pain) in adults, for example due to diabetic neuropathy, following shingles (post-herpetic neuralgia) or due to spinal cord injury.
Generalised anxiety disorder in adults.
How do I take it?
Lyrica capsules and oral solution can be taken either with or without food.
Lyrica capsules or oral solution are usually taken two to three times a day. The dose prescribed depends on the individual, the condition being treated and how well it is controlled. You should follow the instructions given by your doctor. These will also be printed on the dispensing label that your pharmacist has put on the medicine. Try to space your doses evenly over the day.
If you have epilepsy it is important to take your medication regularly, as directed by your doctor, because missing doses can trigger seizures in some people. If you have trouble remembering to take your medicine you should ask your pharmacist for advice. You may find a pill reminder box helpful.
You should not stop taking this medicine suddenly unless your doctor tells you otherwise, as this may result in your seizures, nerve pain or anxiety returning or getting worse. If it is decided that you should stop taking this medicine, the dose should usually be reduced gradually over at least a week. Follow the instructions given by your doctor.
This medicine may cause dizziness, sleepiness, confusion or blurred vision and so may reduce your ability to drive or operate machinery safely. Do not drive or operate machinery until you know how this medicine affects you and you are sure it won't affect your performance.
This medicine may increase the effects of alcohol.
There may be a small increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviour in people taking antiepileptic medicines such as pregabalin for any condition. For this reason, it is very important to seek medical advice if you, or someone else taking this medicine, experience any changes in mood, distressing thoughts, or feelings about suicide or self-harm at any point while taking this medicine. For more information speak to your doctor or pharmacist.
This medicine may cause skin reactions. You should let your doctor know if you develop a rash, skin peeling, itching, or other unexplained skin reaction while taking this medicine.
This medicine may sometimes cause allergic reactions, including angioedema. Consult your doctor immediately if you experience difficulty breathing or swallowing, or swelling of your face, lips, tongue or throat while taking this medicine.
Some people have experienced withdrawal symptoms after stopping treatment (long-term or short-term) with this medicine. These have included insomnia, headache, nausea, diarrhoea, flu syndrome, nervousness, depression, pain, sweating and dizziness.
Use with caution in
Decreased kidney function.
Severe heart failure.
Diabetes (people with diabetes who gain weight during treatment may need an alteration in their dose of blood sugar lowering medicine).
People with a history of substance abuse.
Not to be used in
Lyrica capsules contain lactose and are not suitable for people with rare hereditary problems of galactose intolerance, the Lapp lactase deficiency or glucose-galactose malabsorption.
This medicine is not recommended for children and adolescents under 18 years of age, because the manufacturer has not studied its safety and efficacy in this age group.
This medicine should not be used if you are allergic to one or any of its ingredients. Please inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have previously experienced such an allergy.
If you feel you have experienced an allergic reaction, stop using this medicine and inform your doctor or pharmacist immediately.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Certain medicines should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding. However, other medicines may be safely used in pregnancy or breastfeeding providing the benefits to the mother outweigh the risks to the unborn baby. Always inform your doctor if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, before using any medicine.
The safety of this medicine during pregnancy has not been established. It should not be used during pregnancy unless your doctor considers that the benefits to the mother clearly outweigh any potential risks to the developing baby.
Women who could get pregnant should use an effective method of contraception to prevent pregnancy while taking this medicine. Seek medical advice from your doctor. This medicine does not affect hormonal contraceptives such as the pill.
It is not known if this medicine passes into breast milk. For this reason, breastfeeding is not recommended while taking this medicine. Seek medical advice from your doctor.