What is pregabalin?

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Practitioner

Pregabalin (Lyrica) is a drug that was developed to treat epilepsy. It is also helpful for people with neuropathic (nerve) pain caused by nerve damage. It is approved by the FDA to treat nerve pain from diabetic neuropathy, postherpetic (shingles) neuralgia, fibromyalgia, and spinal cord injury. Doctors think it works by blocking pain signals to the brain. It can reduce pain, fatigue, and anxiety. It can also improve sleep.

Pregabalin is usually started at a low dose and slowly increased to get the most pain relief with the fewest side effects. It can take 6 or 8 weeks to get the full effect. 

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Pregabalin is the generic name for the medication known by the brand name Lyrica. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved pregabalin for treating pain and improving function in people who have fibromyalgia, and for relieving pain due to diabetic neuropathy or following a bout of shingles (an illness caused by the varicella-zoster "chickenpox" virus). Pregabalin is also prescribed in combination with other medications to help control partial onset seizures in adults.

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