Pregabalin for facial pain
If you have chronic face pain you might be prescribed pregabalin.
Pregabalin is a medicine that is used to treat epilepsy and anxiety. It is also used to treat nerve pain. Nerve pain can be caused by different illnesses including diabetes and shingles, or an injury.
Pregabalin blocks pain by interfering with pain messages travelling through the brain and down the spine.
Always follow the amount (dose) prescribed by your doctor, and read the leaflet that comes with your medicine.
Pregabalin is also called by the brand names Lyrica®, Alzain, Lecaent and Rewisca®.
Pregabalin is usually taken 2 to 3 times each day.
- Try to space your doses evenly through the day.
- You can take pregabalin with or without food.
- Swallow pregabalin capsules whole with a drink of water or juice.
- Do not chew them.
To prevent side effects, your doctor will prescribe a low dose to start with and then increase it over a few days.
When you find a dose that suits you, it will usually then stay the same. Not all patients need the maximum dose of 300mg 2 times a day.
It takes a few weeks for pregabalin to start working.
How much to take (dose)
|1 to 3
|4 to 6
If you forget to take the medicine
If you forget a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it's within 2 hours of the next dose, it's better to leave out the missed dose and take your next dose as normal.
Never take 2 doses at the same time. Never take an extra dose to make up for a forgotten one.
If you often forget doses, it might help to set an alarm to remind you. You can ask your pharmacist for advice on other ways to help you to remember to take your medicine.
Side effects of pregabalin
Like all medicines, pregabalin can cause side effects in some people, but many people have no side effects or only minor ones.
Common side effects
- feeling sleepy, tired or dizzy
- mood changes
- feeling sick (nausea) and, rarely, being sick (vomiting)
- swollen hands, arms, legs and feet
- blurred vision
- difficulty getting an erection
- weight gain (pregabalin can make you feel hungry)
- memory problems
These side effects happen in more than 1 in 100 people. They're usually mild and go away by themselves.
If the side effects bother you or don’t go away, keep taking the medicine, but talk to your doctor.
If you have diabetes, pregabalin can upset your blood sugar control. Monitor your blood sugar more often for the first few weeks of treatment with pregabalin, and adjust your diabetes treatment if you need to.
Talk to your doctor or diabetes nurse if you want more advice on what to do.
Serious side effects
Very few people taking pregabalin have serious side effects.
Call a doctor immediately if you have:
- thoughts of harming or killing yourself (A few people taking pregabalin have had suicidal thoughts, which can happen after only a week of treatment)
- difficulties breathing
- severe dizziness or you pass out
- hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are not real)
- problems going to the toilet, including blood in your pee, needing to pee more often, or constipation
Serious allergic reaction
In rare cases, it's possible to have a serious allergic reaction to pregabalin.
Contact your GP or go to the nearest A&E immediately if:
- you get a skin rash that might include itchy, red, swollen, blistered or peeling skin
- you're wheezing
- you get tightness in the chest or throat
- you have trouble breathing or talking
- your mouth, face, lips, tongue or throat start to swell
These are not all the side effects of pregabalin. For a full list see the leaflet inside your medicine packet. You can report any suspected side effect to the UK safety scheme.
Is pregabalin addictive?
There is a risk that you might become dependent on pregabalin. Withdrawal symptoms (nervousness, mood disturbances, flu-like symptoms) can happen if treatment is stopped suddenly. If you have been taking pregabalin for some time and want to stop, your hospital doctor or GP will recommend that you reduce your dose slowly to avoid the risk of these effects.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Pregabalin is not generally recommended in pregnancy. There's no firm evidence that it's harmful to an unborn baby but, for safety, pregnant women are usually advised to take it only if the benefits of the medicine outweigh the risks.
Tiny amounts of pregabalin can get into breast milk, but it's not clear if it harms the baby. Speak to your doctor if you are planning on breastfeeding.
Taking pregabalin with other medicines
There aren't usually any problems mixing pregabalin with other medicines.
Your GP will give you a repeat prescription for pregabalin, which you can take to your local pharmacy.
Please make sure you request your repeat prescription early so that you do not run out or risk missing any doses of.
Resource number: 4835/VER1
Last reviewed: October 2019
Next review due: October 2022