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Diabetes Medications and New Drugs

Pregabalin (Lyrica)

What is Pregabalin?

Pregabalin is a new drug licensed for the treatment of neuropathic pain in adults. If you have diabetes it is likely that the reason for your needing this medication is painful diabetic neuropathy. Pregabalin was approved for use in Europe in July 2004.

What preparations are available?

Pregabalin is available in capsules of 25, 50, 75, 100, 150, 200 and 300 mg. The capsules used to start treatment in Diabetic neuropathy are likely to be of the 75 mg strength.

What is the dose?

The starting dose of Pregabalin is 75 mg twice daily. If the response is not adequate and this dose is well tolerated, it may be increased to 150 mg twice daily after a week and upto a maximum of 300 mg twice daily after a further week. These changes must only be made on the advice of your doctor. The maximum licensed dose is 600 mg per day.

How much does it cost?

At all dosing levels the cost of a months treatment is 64 to the NHS. 

What benefits can I expect?

Neuropathic pain can be very difficult to relieve. The symptoms are often characterized by sensations of burning, stabbing, numbness or tingling either in the feet or legs. Conventional painkillers are often of little help. You may find a reduction in pain levels which allows you to cope better with the problem.

General advice on taking Pregabalin

  • Swallow whole with water; do not crush or chew the capsule.
  • Do not take more than the prescribed dose
  • Caution with driving and handling machinery

What are the side effects?

The most common side effects are dizziness, drowsiness and fatigue. This may affect your ability to drive. Confusion and irritability have been reported. Blurred vision or double vision may occur. Dry mouth, constipation nausea and flatulence. Appetite and weight may increase. Side effects with Pregabalin are often related to the size of the dose and are usually mild to moderate in severity.

Can I stop this treatment?

It is recommended that Pregabalin is discontinued gradually if required. A minimum of one week is advised.

 

Dr Nishan Wijenaike
Consultant Diabetologist
West Suffolk Hospitals NHS Trust
Bury St Edmunds
October 2004

TOPICS IN THIS SECTION

Glucose Lowering drugs

Drugs for blood pressure

Cholesterol and other lipid lowering drugs

Drugs to lower cardiovascular risk

Drugs for neuropathic pain

Drugs which help weight loss

Drugs for erectile dysfunction

Drugs for Type 2 diabetes