Lyrica is the trade name for pregabalin, which is a medication used to treat various conditions in which neuropathic pain from damaged nerves is a symptom. The medication relieves pain that can occur after spinal cord injuries, shingles, diabetes, and fibromyalgia.
Lyrica comes as a capsule, oral solution, and an extended-release tablet. It is in a class of medication called anticonvulsants. The medication is believed to work by calming damaged or overactive nerves and reducing the pain signals sent out by these nerves.
As a pain reliever, Lyrica can be habit-forming. The medication can produce feelings of calm and reduce pain, so it can be abused. People who abuse Lyrica may take more than they are prescribed, which could cause them to run out of their prescription before the next refill is available.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that prescription drug abuse has increased over the past 15 years and contributed to the rise in emergency room visits related to overdoses.
Misuse of prescription drugs includes any use of a medication that is not aligned with the doctor’s instructions for the drug.
This could include taking more of the drug than recommended, taking it more frequently than prescribed, or taking it via alternative ingestion methods, such as snorting, smoking, or injection.
Many people who take Lyrica have chronic conditions that cause ongoing pain, and managing that pain can be difficult and complicated. People with chronic pain can develop dependencies on pain-relieving medications relatively quickly.
One study published in the International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction found that while Lyrica was a commonly used drug of abuse among polysubstance users, many consumers were unaware of the potential dangers involved in abusing the drug.
If Lyrica has been used for an extended period, it should not be stopped all at once. Abrupt cessation of use could cause distressful withdrawal symptoms.
Like many medications, Lyrica should be slowly tapered off to prevent the harshest side effects of withdrawal. Lyrica or Pregabalin withdrawal symptoms can cause intense discomfort.
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The Lyrica withdrawal timeline can take anywhere from one to seven days, depending on many individual factors, such as how much of the medication an individual has been taking and how long they have had a dependency on Lyrica.
People who have been taking only Lyrica for a short time may not experience withdrawal symptoms. These people can generally stop use with relatively few side effects.
People who have been taking Lyrica for a prolonged period are likely to experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking it. Withdrawal symptoms associated with Lyrica include:
Withdrawal from Lyrica can begin as soon as you stop taking the medication. Your doctor may be able to taper your dosage of Lyrica down gradually over a week or so. During this time, you should follow the instructions your doctor gives you and make sure you communicate any symptoms you are experiencing. Some of the distressful symptoms associated with withdrawal from Lyrica can be managed with other medications.
Other drugs you may be taking can also affect Lyrica withdrawal symptoms and timeline. If you have been abusing other drugs or are on other prescribed medications, these factors will need to be taken into account when creating the appropriate protocol for withdrawal from Lyrica.
The medications used to manage withdrawal from Lyrica will depend on your history of substance abuse and tolerance to specific medications. Medications may be used to calm you to make the withdrawal process more comfortable.
Medical detox protocols will be developed with attention to other symptoms you may experience due to underlying medical conditions, such as pain or seizures. Some of these medications could include:
Benzos are frequently used in detox protocols because they can relieve anxiety and reduce the distress of other symptoms.
Medications such as Zofran or Imodium may be used to treat gastrointestinal distress
Over-the-counter pain medications, such as ibuprofen, may be given to combat muscle aches associated with withdrawing from Lyrica
This is a blood pressure medication that also has been used to treat severe menstrual cramping as well as alcohol and opioid withdrawal. It has a sedative effect and may be used to manage some symptoms during withdrawal
Because Lyrica is sometimes used to treat seizures, an alternative anticonvulsant medication may be used to prevent seizures during withdrawal
People with insomnia as a result of Lyrica withdrawal may be prescribed a sleep aid to increase comfort during the withdrawal process
The process of detoxing can be very different, depending on what drugs or medication you have been taking and for how long. You may experience mild-to-severe withdrawal symptoms, which should be treated with other medications during the withdrawal process. Each person’s detox experience is unique.
The longer a person has been using a substance and the higher doses they have been taking, the more likely it is that they will need professional support when they are ready to detox from the substance.
If you are concerned about the withdrawal process from Lyrica, consider going to an inpatient treatment facility that can ensure your safety and comfort throughout the detox period.
Finding the appropriate protocol for an individual can be complicated because medications used to treat withdrawal may also be abused.
In fact, researchers are studying pregabalin as a potential way to treat withdrawal from other drugs of abuse, such as opioids or benzodiazepines.
Addiction professionals have to approach each individual with a unique plan that addresses their medical conditions, their history of addiction, and their specific withdrawal symptoms.
If you need to detox from Lyrica, look for a detox center that can provide a medically assisted withdrawal protocol so you can avoid some of the harsher side effects that come with withdrawal. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has a facility locator that can be used to find local treatment centers that can provide medical detox.
A good detox center should be staffed with medical professionals who have experience working with people withdrawing from Lyrica specifically. These centers will be staffed 24/7 and have nursing staff available to monitor your symptoms. If any complications occur, these professionals can act quickly.
Medical detox also provides crucial psychological support. This support is vital during this vulnerable time and can be the reason you make it through detox. People who attempt to detox on their own at home often relapse because of a lack of support.
Each person’s experience with drug addiction is unique, and their withdrawal experience will also be unique. Treatment should be customized to fit each person’s needs, so look for a detox center that will create a customized treatment plan just for you. Stay away from centers that offer a one-size-fits-all approach.
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(December 2018). Misuse of Prescription Drugs. National Institute on Drug Abuse. from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/misuse-prescription-drugs/overview
(January 2019). Pregabalin. U.S. National Library of Medicine. from https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a605045.html
(September 2017). Pregabalin Misuse and Abuse in Jordan: a Qualitative Study of User Experiences. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction. from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5986847/
(November 2016). Pregabalin for the Treatment of Drug and Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms: A Comprehensive review. CNS Drugs. from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5124051/
Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. from https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/