- Reference Number: HEY-875/2017
- Departments: Pain Medicine
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This leaflet has been produced to give you general information regarding your treatment. Most of your questions should have been answered by this leaflet. It is not intended to replace the discussion between you and your doctor but may act as a starting point for discussion. If after reading it you have any concerns or require further explanation, please discuss this with a member of the healthcare team caring for you.
What is Pregabalin and what is it used for?
Pregabalin is used to treat some types of persistent pain. It is especially good for nerve pain, such as burning, shooting or stabbing pain. Pregabalin belongs to a group of medicines called anticonvulsants, which are also used to treat epilepsy.
Pregabalin works by changing the way that nerves send messages to your brain. If the messages are reduced, then the pain will be reduced.
How do I take Pregabalin?
You may need to take this medicine for a few weeks before you feel any change in your pain. Normally, the starting dose is small and may be taken between one and three times a day, but the dose will be gradually increased. Instructions will be given to you on what dose to start taking and how to increase the dose. The table below will help to guide you. If you are taking antacid medication it is best to wait for two hours after taking it before taking gabapentin.
Important: If you feel you are gaining significant pain relief stop at this dose of medication, you do not have to increase the dose further.
The dose may need to be gradually increased. It cannot be started at a high dose, as this usually causes side effects. Some people get pain relief at low doses; other people need higher doses. Once we find the right dose for you, you will need to continue to take the medicines for as long as you have the pain.
How long will I need to take Pregabalin?
This will depend on why you are taking pregabalin and how your pain responds to treatment. You can continue to take pregabalin for as long as it helps your pain if you are not having any side effects. It may be necessary for your doctor to change the dose during your treatment.
Can I drink alcohol while taking Pregabalin?
The combination of Pregabalin and alcohol can cause significant drowsiness if you have just started on this medicine or the dose has recently been increased. We advise you not to drink alcohol when you first start this medicine and while we are increasing the dose.
Can I take other medicines together with Pregabalin?
The absorption of Pregabalin is affected by certain indigestion/antacid mixtures. Always tell your doctor, nurse or pharmacist which other medicines you are taking or buying, so they can make sure there are no interactions between your medicines.
Are there side effects from taking Pregabalin?
You are also advised to read the information leaflet that will be included with your medication.
- The most common side effects are dizziness and tiredness – if you are affected by this do not drive or operate machinery.
- Less common side effects are diarrhoea, dry mouth, swelling, weight gain, memory loss, abnormal thinking and rash.
- Uncommon side effects are muscle weakness or pain, constipation, flatulence, nausea, confusion, decreased sensitivity to touch. Usually these side effects will pass but if they do not or you find them troublesome, or you experience any unusual effects you should discuss this with your GP, especially if you feel that you are not able to walk as normal, are forgetful, confused, or experience visual disturbance or nausea.
These side effects usually resolve over a period of time; do not suddenly stop taking your medicine. If side effects are troubling you call your GP or nurse for advice.
However, if you are concerned about any immediate potentially serious side effects such as a rash or swelling speak to your GP/Pharmacist/Nurse as you may need to stop this medicine immediately. In this situation if you have any doubts/concerns and cannot speak to a health care professional, stop the medicine then seek medical advice at the earliest available appointment. Some people can stop this medicine suddenly and have no problems; however some people may get withdrawal symptoms if it is stopped suddenly such as insomnia, headache, flu syndrome, anxiety etc which should only last a few days. These symptoms are more likely to occur if people have been on this medicine for more than a few months.
- Do not run out of medicine
- Remember to ask for a repeat prescription before your tablets are finished.
- If you have taken too many tablets please contact your GP or attend accidents and emergency.
Can I drive whilst taking Pregabalin?
You should not drive if your judgment is impaired by this medication.
Further information on Drug driving can be found at;-https://www.gov.uk/drug-driving-law
What do I do if I forget to take a regular dose of Pregabalin?
If you forget to take a dose take it as soon as you remember unless it is time to take the next dose. Do not take two doses at the same time.
Who should I telephone if I need advice urgently about my Pregabalin?
If you have any queries do not hesitate to contact the pain clinic Monday to Friday 9am till 4pm – Out patients Department, East Riding Community Hospital, Beverley Tel: (01482) 478868 / 336440
Outside the normal pain clinic hours (Monday to Friday 9am till 4pm) you can contact your own GP within their working hours. Out of these hours, if you have any queries, contact NHS111 and inform them that you are taking Pregabalin. They will then be able to contact the Pain/Palliative Medicine Consultant on duty for advice.
This leaflet was produced by Centre for Pain Medicine, Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.
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