Lyrica for Fibromyalgia

What You Need to Know

What Lyrica Is:

Lyrica (pregabalin) is a drug used to treat the pain of fibromyalgia, diabetic neuropathy and postherpetic neuralgia (shingles). It's also an anti-seizure medication.

The FDA approved Lyrica for fibromyalgia in June 2007, making it the first drug ever approved for this condition. So far, there is no generic version of Lyrica. The closest equivalent is gabapentin, the generic of Neurontin.

What Lyrica Does:

Lyrica is believed to slow down impulses in the brain that cause seizures in people with epilepsy and affect neurotransmitters (chemical messengers) that transmit pain signals via the nervous system.

Lyrica for Fibromyalgia:

Numerous clinical trials have shown that Lyrica can provide significant improvements in fibromyalgia pain, fatigue and quality of life. This is believed to be because of Lyrica's effect on neurotransmitters that are at low levels in some people with fibromyalgia.

However, Lyrica doesn't work for everyone with fibromyalgia, and some people experience unpleasant side effects.

Lyrica Dosage:

The usual dose of Lyrica for fibromyalgia is 300 mg to 450 mg per day, split between 2 or 3 doses. Generally, doctors recommend starting at a low dosage, such as 75 mg twice a day, and working up gradually.

It's dangerous to stop taking Lyrica too suddenly. If you want to discontinue using it, talk to your doctor about the safest way to wean off of the drug.

Lyrica Side Effects:

Lyrica is associated with a long list of side effects. Some are serious enough that you should contact your doctor immediately if you have them. Lyrica side effects include:

  • Allergic reactions (rash, itching, hives, swollen face, lips or tongue)
  • Anxiety/confusion
  • Breathing problems
  • Vision changes
  • Chest pain
  • Unusual involuntarily movements
  • Memory loss
  • Muscle pain, tenderness or weakness
  • Tremors
  • Unusual bruising or bleeding
  • Thoughts of suicide or dying
  • Mood changes

More common Lyrica side effects, which usually do not require medical attention, include:

  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Dry mouth
  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Weight gain

Sources: Drugs A-Z. All rights reserved. "Lyrica"

NIH Publication NO. 04-5326

June 2007, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, "Living with Fibromyalgia"

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