Our outreach workers occasionally hear about the use of Lyrica. It is too early to say that a trend is emerging. Still, it is good to list the risks of this drug and provide some harm reduction tips.
What is it?
Lyrica is the brand name for pregabalin, a drug prescribed for epilepsy, nerve pain and anxiety disorders. It reduces nerve excitation and overactivity in the brain that cause epileptic seizures and pain.
People additionally use Lyrica ‘recreationally’. For its relaxing and calming effects on the nervous system, but also for the euphoric feeling Lyrica can give.
what are the risks?
However, there are (serious) risks associated with the use of Lyrica.
Side effects that are common or very common with Lyrica use are:
- Dizziness and problems with movement and balance
- Drowsiness, fatigue and insomnia
- Cold symptoms
- Increased appetite and weight gain
- Irritability and restlessness
- Disorientation & Confusion,
- Decreased libido and erectile dysfunction
- Trembling hands
- Difficulty speaking
- Memory and concentration problems
- Nerve pain or numbness in hands and feet
- Muscle and joint pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Intestinal complaints: constipation, diarrhoea, and bloating
- Dry mouth
- Fluid retention
With regular Lyrica use, physical habituation occurs. Acutely stopping during physical habituation can cause withdrawal symptoms such as:
- Epileptic seizure
- Flu-like symptoms
Harm reduction tips
- Better not combine Lyrica with other downers
- It is preferable not to use Lyrica if you have a history of depression or suicide.
- Rather use Lyrica occasionally, than for long periods in a row.
- Build in intervals in Lyrica use to avoid dependence. Preferably not for more than a few days at a time.
- If you are physically dependent and want to stop, gradually reduce the dose. Suddenly quitting when physically dependent can be dangerous. If necessary, seek professional counselling.
- Do not participate in traffic with Lyrica and certainly do not drive a car.
- The prescribed dose is usually around 300 mg per day, divided into 2 to 3 intakes. Never exceed the maximum dose of 600 mg per day.
- In case of regular use, spread your Lyrica over the day rather than taking it all at once.