Lyrica Side Effects: A Comprehensive Guide

Lyrica Side Effects: A Comprehensive Guide

Authored by Monique Deluge, / Medically Reviewed by Dr. Conor Sheehy, PharmD, BCPS
Last Updated: November 17, 2023


Pregabalin, brand name Lyrica, is used to treat a wide range of conditions, including nerve pain, fibromyalgia, and partial-onset seizures in adults with epilepsy. Considered an anticonvulsant, analgesic, and anxiolytic prescription drug, it works by blocking calcium channels in some parts of the body, which prevents pain.

Lyrica is available in tablet and oral solution forms. The dosage recommended by your doctor is based on several factors, including your current health status and risk of potential adverse effects. It is especially important to inform your doctor before starting Lyrica treatment if you have a history of kidney problems, drug abuse, or allergic reactions, as Lyrica is not a good fit for some people. This article is a comprehensive guide to Lyrica’s side effects and may help you determine whether Lyrica treatment may be beneficial to you.

Overview of Lyrica’s adverse effects

An adverse effect, also known as a side effect or adverse reaction, is an undesirable and unintended reaction to a drug. Adverse reactions are often mild, and many require no medical attention because they resolve on their own with time. However, severe or long-term side effects need continual monitoring by your healthcare provider. Because individuals react to medications differently, not everyone experiences the same side effects.

Dizziness and drowsiness are the most commonly reported adverse effects of Lyrica. Other commonly reported side effects are unusual weight gain, sleepiness and fatigue, vertigo, allergic reactions, leg swelling, blurred vision, loss of coordination, and euphoria. Lyrica has adverse effects similar to those of other central nervous system depressants.

Lyrica can also cause serious and long-term adverse effects that can be fatal if left untreated. You should therefore maintain open dialogue with your healthcare provider about the side effects you experience while undergoing Lyrica treatment. Some users have reported severe allergic reactions, such as skin rash, breathing problems, and swelling or puffiness of the tongue, throat, or eyes. Other severe adverse effects are increased suicidal tendencies and new or worsening depression. High doses or intentional overdose of Lyrica can induce seizures. People who use this drug recreationally or while engaging in other drug or alcohol misuse are prone to such adverse reactions. Although rare, Lyrica users have reported hallucinations, first-degree heart block, hypertension, hypotension, and inflammation of the pancreas. Some have also experienced abnormal movements, such as tremors, loss of balance (clumsiness), restless leg syndrome, and ataxia.

Addressing specific concerns about Lyrica

Lyrica’s common and rare adverse effects

Lyrica is commonly prescribed medications in the US to treat nerve pain. As with any medication, taking Lyrica puts you at risk of adverse effects. Most common side effects are mild and present during the initial phase of drug use. Such reactions do not continue throughout the course of treatment and may not require medical attention. However, you should contact your doctor if these reactions are persistent or become severe.

Here are some common side effects you may notice when taking Lyrica:

  • Drowsiness and dizziness (the most commonly reported adverse reactions)
  • Trouble with speech or focus
  • Sweating
  • Rapid weight gain sensation
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Increased hunger
  • Constipation
  • Changes in walking or balance (clumsiness)
  • Thirst
  • Lower back pain
  • Painful or difficult urination
  • Sensation of pins under feet
  • Problems with memory
  • Trembling or other problems with muscle control or coordination
  • Swelling in the hands and feet
  • Eye problems, such as double or blurred vision
  • Difficulty recognizing objects or focusing
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea and vomiting

This list is not exhaustive, as some users experience other symptoms. Be sure to record your experience and inform your doctor of any side effects you notice, as some common side effects may warrant treatment, especially in those with poor health status.

Occasionally, Lyrica users experience unusual and rare side effects that may require emergency medical intervention. Call your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following:

  • Red skin lesions (caused by sudden blistering and peeling)
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Breast enlargement or swelling
  • Swelling of the face
  • Irregular, fast, or labored breathing
  • Sores, ulcers, or white spots in the mouth or on the lips
  • Red or irritated eyes
  • Blue lips, fingernails, or skin (or purple or blue spots in the center of red skin lesions)
  • Sore throat
  • Chills or cold sweats
  • Stomach cramps or discomfort

Lyrica’s severe and long-term adverse effects

Lyrica is generally well tolerated and considered safe and effective when used as recommended by a healthcare provider. However, it presents a risk of severe adverse reactions, especially when used long term.

You should seek emergency medical attention if you or your loved one taking Lyrica experience the following severe or long-term side effects:

  • Sexual problems, such as anorgasmia, erectile dysfunction, or decreased libido
  • Fertility issues, such as sperm abnormalities, decreased fertility, or birth defects
  • Withdrawal symptoms (e.g., insomnia, nausea, headache, and anxiety), as chronic Lyrica use can cause addiction and stopping suddenly can lead to withdrawal symptoms
  • Suicidal thoughts or behaviors, worsening depression, hopelessness, or a lack of interest in activities that were previously enjoyable
  • Rhabdomyolysis, which manifests as painful muscle aches, dark-colored urine, confusion or disorientation, muscle weakness, nausea, and/or vomiting
  • Thrombocytopenia, which manifests as nosebleeds, bleeding gums, bleeding extensively from cuts, and/or easy bruising
  • Severe allergic reaction, such as angioedema (sudden swelling of the face, throat, eyes, or genitals), difficulty breathing, rapid heartbeat, skin rash, or unbearable itching
  • Cognitive problems, such as difficulty concentrating, impaired judgment, memory loss, or decreased consciousness
  • Seizures or severe loss of coordination
  • Worsening kidney problems (for those with a history of kidney impairment), which can manifest as decreased or little daytime urine production, dehydration, blood in the urine, swelling of the ankles, and/or increased urge to urinate during the night
  • Heart failure symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, swelling of the lower extremities, or chest pain

Since pregabalin use has expanded beyond epilepsy treatment, addiction and overdose have been reported quite frequently in recent years. This drug can enhance the effects of illicit drugs and has thus become attractive to those looking for a longer or more satisfying high. Pregabalin is usually snorted on its own or mixed with drugs like cocaine. People who use pregabalin in this manner are at risk of severe adverse reactions, which can be fatal.

Common questions about Lyrica’s effects

For whom is Lyrica mainly indicated?

All healthcare providers weigh the risks and benefits when prescribing a new drug. Lyrica is not for everyone and is mainly prescribed for people with:

Who should not use Lyrica?

Before starting Lyrica treatment, you should inform your doctor of your medical history, especially any severe conditions you have.

If you have any of the following medical conditions (or a history of them), you should avoid Lyrica or use it with caution:

  • Allergic reactions to pregabalin
  • Depression, bipolar disorder, or other mood disorders
  • Bleeding disorders, such as hemophilia and von Willebrand disease
  • Kidney failure, especially if you are on dialysis
  • Severe asthma or bronchitis, as Lyrica may increase risk of respiratory depression
  • Heart failure
  • Drug or alcohol misuse, as Lyrica may cause drug dependence and its users cannot drink alcohol due to increased risk of drowsiness
  • Pregnancy or breastfeeding, as the effects of Lyrica on fetal development and breastfeeding infants are unknown
  • Diabetes with advanced eye changes, as Lyrica may worsen vision problems

How long does Lyrica take to work?

Everyone responds to medications differently. The time it takes a drug to take effect varies based on the following:

  • The prescribed dosage (higher doses may take effect more quickly)
  • The route of administration (drugs taken intravenously are typically absorbed more quickly than those taken orally)
  • Individual factors, such as age, weight, genetics, and overall health status, which can influence drug metabolism
  • Drug interactions (certain drugs can delay or weaken Lyrica’s effect when taken simultaneously)

In clinical studies, some people have reported pain relief immediately after taking Lyrica. Others have reported decreased pain within one week. Most people experience Lyrica’s effect within four weeks of starting treatment.

Alternatives to Lyrica

For those uncomfortable with or unable to undergo Lyrica treatment, here are a few alternatives to consider:

Managing the adverse effects of Lyrica

Practical tips for coping with Lyrica’s adverse effects

Coping with side effects can be difficult because it requires lifestyle changes, regular communication with your healthcare provider, and continual monitoring for worsening symptoms. You will need the help of your loved ones, especially when coping with severe or long-term side effects of Lyrica.

Here are a few tips to help you cope with Lyrica’s adverse effects:

  • Stay hydrated, as drinking adequate amounts of water can decrease dry mouth and constipation.
  • Make healthy diet and lifestyle changes. Some exercises and physiotherapy can help you cope with pain, and incorporating fruits and vegetables into your diet can help you maintain overall good health.
  • If you experience memory problems or lose focus easily, try setting reminders on your phone or place sticky notes around your house.
  • Maintain continual dialogue with your healthcare provider and set frequent follow-up visits so you can be advised on how to cope with your specific side effects.
  • If you are battling addiction, join a rehab program.

Lyrica drug interactions

Drug interactions occur when drugs that affect one another are taken together. Here’s a list of drugs to avoid while on Lyrica:

The use of Lyrica with benzodiazepines and narcotic pain relievers can lead to excessive sleepiness or drowsiness and can even put the user into a coma.

Importance of compliance and keeping Lyrica prescriptions up to date

Managing your diabetic nerve pain, partial-onset seizures, or other conditions can be challenging, especially with the high cost of prescription drugs. However, it is important to stay compliant with your Lyrica treatment plan to ensure effective remission of your symptoms. Keeping up with your Lyrica prescription is critical, as frequent missed doses can cause symptoms to worsen.

With the help of The Rx Advocates, you can save money on your out-of-pocket Lyrica costs so you never have to worry about running out of this medication. We can help you apply for the Lyrica patient assistance program, which offers far more substantial savings than coupons. With such programs, you are guaranteed monthly access to your medication at a fraction of its retail cost, whether or not you are commercially insured.

The experiences of Lyrica users after discontinuation

Users’ experiences after discontinuing Lyrica vary widely depending on factors such as the duration of use, dosage, individual health status, and the reason for and method of stopping the drug. Changing or stopping any prescription drug must be done under the supervision of a healthcare provider. Abruptly discontinuing Lyrica without proper medical guidance increases the risk of withdrawal symptoms and other complications. Here’s a sample of some people’s experiences and complaints while undergoing Lyrica treatment:

  • I’ve been battling severe weight gain since starting Lyrica treatment. Early on, I sometimes appeared drunk and confused at work, which was very damaging to my reputation and my career. However, after three months, I noticed I was no longer putting on weight and could focus at work.
  • Lyrica saved my life! I was bedridden due to fibromyalgia for a very long time. After taking Lyrica, my pain gradually disappeared, and I was able to go to church for the first time in six years!
  • I am addicted to this medication and often take an extra pill or two throughout the day to keep my anxiety at bay. I struggle with suicidal thoughts, which is shocking to me since I never experienced depressive moods or suicidal tendencies before. I’ve tried to wean myself off it, but the withdrawal symptoms, such as the shakes and increased nerve pain, led me back again, and I now use a higher dose.

Withdrawal is a common complication for Lyrica users who finish their treatment or abruptly stop taking the drug. Here are a few tips on how to detoxify and transition off the drug safely:

  • Gradually taper Lyrica by decreasing the dosage by a specific amount over a long period. The duration and dose decrease percentage will be determined by your doctor. Do not attempt to wean yourself off this drug without medical support.
  • Detoxification should be supervised in a controlled environment to ensure safety. 
  • Alternative treatments can be used during Lyrica detoxification to lessen symptoms and increase patient comfort. Such treatments include massage therapy, acupuncture, mindfulness meditation, and yoga.


Lyrica is a prescription drug that can grant relief from nerve pain, partial-onset seizures, and other conditions. As with any drug, it comes with a risk of adverse reactions and long-term complications. Being aware of how Lyrica affects your body can help you stay two steps ahead in preventing addition and decreasing your risk of side effects and withdrawal symptoms.

Lyrica is not for everyone and should be used with caution. Consult with your healthcare provider and schedule frequent follow-up visits to ensure your Lyrica treatment course is effective with as few obstacles as possible. Also remember to keep your prescriptions up to date. If you are struggling to afford this drug, The Rx Advocates can help you apply for the Lyrica patient assistance program, which grants monthly access to this prescription drug at a fraction of its retail cost. Constant pain can be difficult to cope with; ask your doctor if Lyrica is right for you!

  1. (2023). Pregabalin (Oral Route).
  2. (2023). Pregabalin.
  3. (2023). Lyrica (pregabalin).
  4. (2023). Lyrica Side Effects.
  5. (2023). How long does it take for Lyrica to work?
  6. (2023). Side Effects of Lyrica: What You Need to Know.
  7. (2023). Lyrica side effects: What you should do.
  8. (2023). User Reviews for Lyrica Oral.
Call Now Button