a foot above several upright thumb tacks

Have you seen the ad blitz for Lyrica (pregabalin)? A LOT of money is being spent trying to convince the American public that Lyrica is the answer to diabetic nerve pain. One of the most compelling commercials stars a retired policeman:

“Hi, I’m Terry and I have diabetic nerve pain. I worked a patrol unit for 17 years in the city of Baltimore. When I first started experiencing the pain it’s hard to describe because you have a numbness but yet you have the pain like thousands of needles sticking in your foot.”

This sounds awful, and indeed people with diabetic neuropathy suffer terribly. Symptoms can include:

Symptoms of Diabetic Neuropathy

  • Burning, tingling or a feeling of needles sticking into your skin
  • Numbness in toes and feet; an inability to sense a needle prick; reduced sensitivity to temperature change
  • Difficulty walking because of numbness, pain or weakness
  • Intense stabbing jolts of pain, especially in the evening
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Swallowing difficulties
  • Poor stomach emptying, leading to feelings of fullness and bloating
  • Bladder problems
  • Dizziness on standing

It’s hardly any wonder that patients with neuropathy and nerve pain would be looking for help. A commercial like the one with Terry, the retired Baltimore police officer, is very appealing. When Terry says the “pain started subsiding” after taking Lyrica, we imagine that lots of viewers might think that they too might benefit from this drug. Are they paying attention, though, when the voice-over announcer says:

“Lyrica is not for everyone. It may cause serious allergic reactions or suicidal thoughts or actions. Tell your doctor right away if you have these: new or worsening depression or unusual changes in mood or behavior, or swelling, trouble breathing, rash, hives, blisters, changes in eye sight including blurry vision, muscle pain with fever, tired feeling or skin sores from diabetes. Common side effects are dizziness, sleepiness, weight gain, and swelling of hands, legs and feet. Don’t drink alcohol while taking Lyrica. Don’t drive or use machinery until you know how Lyrica affects you.”

While you listen to the on-air announcer speed through this long list of complications you see Terry working in his backyard planting and watering pretty flowers. Somehow, the scary side effects seem less worrisome in such a bucolic setting.

Here are some real stories from our website to bring the side effects into focus:

This comes from LCB:

“I started taking Lyrica 10 days ago for RLS [restless leg syndrome] and fibromyalgia. I was taking gabapentin but it had stopped working. I gained 14 pounds on the gabapentin, and now I’ve gained 5 pounds more on the Lyrica. I have edema [fluid retention] as well. I’m sleepy for most of the day and I feel like I’m dragging my body around. I have no energy. My husband tells me I’m irritable with the kids, and that I can’t seem to remember things anymore.

“All of this is quite a drastic change from my usual energetic, tireless self. I don’t like how I feel, and to make the most important point: Lyrica doesn’t seem to help much. I still have tons of pain, and RLS at night. So, I have an appointment with my doctor to ask for a change. I believe that these medicines work very well on some people, but we are all so different. It doesn’t work for me.”

T.  had a very scary story to share:

“After almost eight years on Cymbalta, it had lost the effectiveness. My doctor added Lyrica to help with fibro. Soon after, I started to have a deep depression and wanted to end the pain that I have lived with for so long. The stress of life was so great, that I attempted suicide. I was put in the hospital for four days.

“At that point, no more meds! The symptoms are what everyone has described. I feel alone and lost in my own brain fog hell. Not one of my family has a clue what a nightmare this is.”

Kathy listed these complicatons:

“I was on the drug eight months for fibromyalgia prescribed by a rheumatologist. I, too, started having problems with eyesight (my eye doctor could NOT update my lenses due to Lyrica causing severe blurriness). I also had memory loss, anxiety, and trouble sleeping. I suffer from chronic constipation due to diverticulitis, and the Lyrica was making this worse. I weaned off over a three-week period. OMG! The withdrawal was/is terrible.

“I am 9 weeks into it, and still have terrible throbbing ongoing headaches, difficulty swallowing, and went from 134 lbs to 118! I feel like I’m dying most of the time. I went to my current neurologist today and was told there were no such symptoms from Lyrica withdrawal!

“Google it, doctor! Please, if anyone reading this is considering taking Lyrica, reconsider! If you have side effects like I did, then decide to go off; you may be looking at a long recovery and NO help from a doctor. They are all denying any problems with this medication. Please read the “Lyrica Withdrawal” posts first!”

Getting off drugs that affect the central nervous system can sometimes be challenging. As we mentioned recently with our post on Abilify, the track record of psychiatry and neurology has been abysmal when it comes to studying sudden withdrawal from commonly prescribed medications. It took years for researchers to discover that when patients suddenly stopped benzodiazepines such as alprazolam (Xanax), diazepam (Valium) or lorazepam (Ativan) they often experienced very unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Ditto for antidepressants like citalopram (Celexa), duloxetine (Cymbalta), escitalopram (Lexapro), sertraline (Zoloft) and venlafaxine (Effexor).

The story of Lyrica (pregabalin) withdrawal is also murky. There is very little in the medical literature on this topic. The prescribing information does mention, though, that some patients report symptoms such as insomnia, nausea, headache, anxiety, sweating or diarrhea if they stop suddenly. The advice: taper the dose over at least a week rather that stopping suddenly. We fear that such information is not always that helpful, especially since there is not much practical information about actual dosage reduction.

Lyrica Side Effects

  • Vertigo, dizziness, unsteadiness, coordination problems, abnormal gait
  • Sleepiness, fatigue
  • Confusion, abnormal thinking, difficulty with attention and concentration, accidental injury
  • Dry mouth
  • Fluid retention in hands or feet, edema
  • Blurred vision, difficulty with eyesight
  • Weight gain
  • Constipation, gas
  • Pain
  • Skin reaction, rash, dermatitis (requires immediate medical attention!)
  • Depression, suicidal thoughts or actions
  • Muscle breakdown (rhabdomyolysis), tremor
  • Blood disorders
  • Withdrawal symptoms, discontinuation syndrome, seizures

We recognize that some people with hard-to-treat neuropathy or fibromyalgia may do quite well on Lyrica and not suffer side effects. That’s great. But some patients don’t get much benefit and do suffer complications. For them, Lyrica is not a blessing.

To learn about some other approaches to neuropathy, you may want to check these links about benfotiamine (link 1 and link 2) and alpha lipoic acid.

Please share your own story about Lyrica or your experience with neuropathy and what has worked for you below so others can benefit from your experience.


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  1. mike

    Is lyrica worth Going on, for tactile alidynia?

  2. Eric K.
    Portland, OR

    I am scared s***less of starting Lyrica or any other drug from a corporation that I’m not familiar with, other than to pay for a program to entertain me and support their friends in Hollywood.
    I am not looking for a cure, just a pain relief. I find this in Oxycodone 5mg but the Dept of Veterans Affairs prevents me from this. Seems everyone is in each others pocket’s while I’m the one in pain.

  3. Dennis

    In just 10 days Lyrica nearly killed me. Now I’m having withdrawal symptoms that make me wonder if this stuff will ever go away. This is an awful medication. Pfizer should be taken to task for this dangerous drug.

  4. Ali

    I have lyme disease that was misdiagnosed as fibromyalgia. I was put on Lyrica to help with the constant pain. For a while, I thought it was working because every time I accidentally skipped a dose I felt like I was dying, and a lot of the Lyrica side effects/withdrawal symptoms are also symptoms of lyme disease. Turns out the awful pain, tremors, nausea and migraines I got when I didn’t take Lyrica weren’t a sign that it was working, but a sign that I was totally dependent on it. I’m now working to slowly wean myself off. It’ll take almost 4 months because I’m on a very high dose, but it’s so worth it. Good to know that the depression, irritability, restless legs, etc is just my body coming down from the Lyrica. After 3 years on Lyrica and 3 years on antidepressants for the associated anxiety, I am more than ready to be done with this god-forsaken medication! One thing that helps me is Kratom- it’s a plant from South East Asia. It’s legal in 48 states and is best described as a very mild form of marijuana. No tripping; just pain relief, subtle mood enhancement and a relaxed feeling.

  5. Ann L

    I have fibromyalgia. I started with Cymbalta, then eventually was prescribed Lyrica. All seemed good at first but then the weight gain set in and very blurred vision. I world-out three times a week, and eat pretty healthy. For over a year I tried desperately to lose 15 pounds and had no luck. I decided the Lyrica wasn’t helping with the pain anymore and the bad was outweighing the good do I weened off for a week. Since then I feel sad, tired, numb, empty, scared, lonely, worried all the time. It’s only been 1.5 weeks, but I’m hoping these feelings go away soon. Everyone around me has said something to me. “Are you okay, you seem sad, you’re not the same, I’m worried about you” please god I just want “me” back again.

  6. sharlene
    london ontario

    I have been on Lyrica for approx a year, it has done wonders for the pain but I have problems that I can not explain? I have swelling of my ankles which they have given me a water pill which real doesn’t Help. I started having anxiety attacks which include shaking, feeling of alone, after my bowels empty the most foul smelling stool with cramps and my body is covered in sweat I can control them now!!! They last any wherefrom 2mim to 15 min. Then there the sleep appena that happens at night at approx 2-3 am at night which wakes me up. Which a good thing because you can die for it ….. I am on 150mg a day 1 pill in morning and 2 a bed time .I have to say the worst problem with the med is I am falling asleep all the time in less I am moving I am sleeping, even on my computer I am nodding off… so I have decided that I am going off Lyrica I have read all these thoughts of Lyrica and I can not say I am on scared but I am sure I can do it. I take methadone for another medication for withdrawals so I am sure I can beat this giant also, I just wonder is there any drug out there that wont give me bad withdrawals????? That will help my pain??? I also take the other drug everyone speaks about Cymbalta its the next one I shall quit. I think you can wean down any drug you just need to be smart doing it…. GOOD LUCK EVERYONE!!! I know how you feel.

  7. Edward

    having been put on Lyrica as a non addictive way of getting of benzos, may I confirm that getting off it is proving as difficult as coming off Lorezapam.
    Why are psychiatrists and other doctors allowed to tell us that this drug is non addictive when it quite clearly is not?

  8. George
    Los Angeles, CA, USA

    I used Lyrica for almost 3 years, put on 40lbs since starting, it helped but I was always tired, blurry, not sleeping well… life sucked. I have PHN and PN, both treated with Morphine, Lyrica, and a handful of other medications, Cymbalta being the last, and having the worst side effects.
    I started using medical cannabis to help with the pain, and have been able to decrease the morphine by 50%, and completely stopped Lyrica, and a number of other things. If you live in a medical marijuana state, consider a high CBD strain to help with the pain. It has transformed my life from a constant state of pain, to being pain free most of the time, nights still being a challenge, but getting better. And if you can find a high CBD oil that is used for children suffering from epilepsy, that works without giving you any kind of a “high” like normal marijuana.
    The worst thing about the Lyrica withdrawal in my case if the nausea. I can’t eat much, am having panic attacks, and I hope that this will stop soon (it’s been almost 30 days off the Lyrica)…
    Good luck, I know it’s going to get better, because it has been so far.

  9. Janet

    I started Lyrica 5months ago for fibromyalgia pain. I am a changed human being in all the good ways. Lyrics has greatly reduced my pain and I am an orthopedic nightmare!! My anxiety has also decreased…I sleep well at night…I have so much more energy during the day. Even my family has noticed the difference in me. OK…it does have some bad effects too…I have started gaining weight…have some fluid retention…..but that’s about it. To me the benefits greatly outweigh the side effects….thank God for this medication. By the way…I take 450 mg daily.

  10. Patricia
    Las Vegas

    I am so glad to read everyone’s comments and realize I am not crazy! Right now my eyes are twitching & aching, my head hurts, I have experienced severe side effects while on Lyrica. Told my Dr. I want to stop.. He said just stop, ur on a low dose at 1 75 mg a day! I have turned into a mad crazy woman! Don’t remember why I am yelling! Foggy brain, weight gain, swelling, rls, sweats, abnormal thinking, memory loss, leg cramps, heart palpitations, stomach pain, constipation & more.

    I starting taper on Sunday, one day on,one day off, it’s only Tuesday & I am a wreck! Anxious & worried how bad the wd’s are going to get! Told my husband I should just live alone since he thinks I overreact to everything! Got off Oxycodone, switched to Norco, had withdrawls, take xanax for anxiety. Diagnosed 8 yrs ago Fibro, deg disc disease, herniated/bulging discs, sciatic nerve pain, can barely walk 100 ft. Bursitis right hip pain, carpal tunnel (recent surgery) severe spinal stenosis, cervical herniated discs, frozen shoulder, depression, anxiety, panic attacks from living in chronic pain. Just had radiofrequency injection (burning the nerves) low back.

    The fibro pain is so bad I have lost my quality of life. Very weak, no energy. My husband is very supportive but still thinks I talk to much about my pain. I have crying spells and now I want off the Lyrica! I wish I would of looked it up before starting it. The PMD is wonderful but like it says LYRICA is not for everyone!!! It’s been horrible on it and now hell to get off it!

    • sophie

      Was on it for 3 years.
      Sore eyes, memory loss, tiredness, ocd.
      Lowered levels, 2 weeks on still can’t eat drink sleep.
      Too many side effects.

    • Elliott

      From reading what you wrote, every comment and damage mentioned about the spine I felt that I was in my own doctors office telling me what drugs I should take. I have been on them all. Now, I tried a neutron simulator, and now have a morphine pump, all of which have yield absolutely no pain relief at all. Every day, I have burning from my shoulder to my feet. The pain in the base of my spine feels like a knife is cutting me open. No one knows what to do. I have been on neuron tin for 5 years, no benefit, lyrics is causing me withdrawal symptoms, which they tell me I am crazy. The only thing crazy, is that I listened to any of my doctors at all. Since my last lumbar surgery, I can nearly walk, no quality of life. I am now 63 and the last 6 years have been so painful I can understand a weaker personal killing themselves.
      Did you have a withdrawal from Lyrica? What are you now doing to help yourself?
      I wish you the relief I wish myself.
      Best of luck. Elliott

  11. Sazzle

    Lyrica, best ever for fibro. Been on it for 8 months. No more restless legs, anxiety down, have done so much more get up and go, and confidence. I sleep sooo much better too. Wish I’d tried it earlier. Still foggy but no more so than before! Peace. Don’t be put off. It could work for you. Effexor is dreadful to withdraw from in my experience.

    • kw

      I was taking Lyrica for about 4 to 6 months, and I noticed almost immediately a depression starting. I tried to write it off saying I was too busy to see My Doc, or at the least hoping it was a side effect and would slowly go away. It got worse. I also take 5 other meds for my back and stress issues. One morning I woke up so disoriented that my family was scared to death. This did not go away till mid afternoon. I immediately researched all my meds to find a cause. I had mixed my Flexeril with the Lyrica. BIG MISTAKE!!!

      Anyways my depression became worse, the positive person I was before was all gone, replaced with nothingness. I used to have a wonderful relationship with my kids, Now I was constantly fighting with them… For some reason at that time I was not blaming it on the Lyrica, I had suffered from depression once before, but this was 10x worse. My family pressured me to see my MD right away. My MD put me on Celexa. Within a week I began crying nonstop, and thoughts of how horrible a person I was plagued me…I could not even get off my couch. Family and friends could see something was horribly wrong with me but had no idea how to help. I began having memory loss along with hiding things around the home and blaming others. I quit my job, I couldn’t function at all outside my home (or inside for that matter) My kids were scared to death. I even was threatening to kill myself and really wanted to (so not me). I ended up having a nervous breakdown, and my kids were taken to stay with their grandparents till I got better. I stopped taking Lyrica that day. But It took a few weeks for me to fully come out of the haze left over my brain. Some 3 months later and I am so much better, my kids were ready to come home now that I wasn’t acting “forgetful and paranoid” as they call it. But Lyrica is definitely one of those drugs that is hit and miss with some people. I will never touch it again that’s for sure. It really screwed up my life!

  12. Tammy

    I’ve been on Lyrica for almost two years and trusting my Dr when he put me on it I did no research on what the side effects could be. Shame on me for that! I am 53 years old and my memory is so bad that I’ve been terrified about my severe memory loss thinking I’m having the onset of early Dementia/Alzheimer’s. Until today I had no idea that Lyrica can be responsible for severe memory loss. I was talking to my daughter in law today after going to see her grandmother at a “memory care” facility that because my memory is so bad that I am afraid I’m having symptoms of it myself. I was telling her that the last new medication I was put on was Lyrica a couple of years ago and was wondering if it had anything to do with it. We googled it and it was on all kinds of websites about people and what this drug is doing to their memory. Looking back it started right after first going on to this medication but never connected the two. She finally admitted that she’s noticed that I repeat myself over and over all day and that it has gotten worse the last couple of years. I’m now awaiting a call from my Dr on what the next step is to get off of it. I just pray that it’s just t one of the side effects and not on my way into a memory care facility myself. I am fully willing to suffer with the physical pain again to have my mind back. I also pray that if this is what is causing my problems that when I get completely off if my memory will return to what it used to be. We tend to trust our Dr ‘s and not think of things such as this. I used to be the best speller but find myself now asking my husband how to spell words that I used to know. I had one incident where I rented a movie for my husband only to have him tell me that we had gone to a theater to see it. We watched an entire season of one tv show that I have no recollection of. I get up to do something and as soon as I stand up I have no idea what I was going to go do. I have gotten to the point that when I do get up to do something I now start saying over and over why I’m getting up and why. I pray to GOD that going off Lyrica will get my mind back to where it used to be. I am desperate. Even writing this my mind is having a hard time focussing.

  13. Tammy

    I’ve been on Lyrica for almost two years and trusting my Dr when he put me on it I did no research on what the side effects could be. Shame on me for that! I am 53 years old and my memory is so bad that I’ve been terrified about my severe memory loss thinking I’m having the onset of early Dementia/Alzheimer’s. Until today I had no idea that Lyrica can be responsible for severe memory loss. I was talking to my daughter in law today after going to see her grandmother at a “memory care” facility that because my memory is so bad that I am afraid I’m having symptoms of it myself. I was telling her that the last new medication I was put on was Lyrica a couple of years ago and was wondering if it had anything to do with it. We googled it and it was on all kinds of websites about people and what this drug is doing to their memory. Looking back it started right after first going on to this medication but never connected the two. She finally admitted that she’s noticed that I repeat myself over and over all day and that it has gotten worse the last couple of years. I’m now awaiting a call from my Dr on what the next step is to get off of it. I just pray that it’s just one of the side effects and not on my way into a memory care facility myself.

    I am fully willing to suffer with the physical pain again to have my mind back. I also pray that if this is what is causing my problems that when I get completely off if my memory will return to what it used to be. We tend to trust our Dr ‘s and not think of things such as this. I used to be the best speller but find myself now asking my husband how to spell words that I used to know. I had one incident where I rented a movie for my husband only to have him tell me that we had gone to a theater to see it. We watched an entire season of one tv show that I have no recollection of. I get up to do something and as soon as I stand up I have no idea what I was going to go do. I have gotten to the point that when I do get up to do something I now start saying over and over why I’m getting up and why. I pray to GOD that going off Lyrica will get my mind back to where it used to be. I am desperate. Even writing this my mind is having a hard time focussing.

    • Margaret

      I am on Lyrica and have just read Tammy from Arizona’s experience on this drug. I really mean it when I say that my experience is a mirror image of her side effects. My memory, or what is left of it, is so bad that my doctor had me tested for Altzheimers which proved negative. I know we forget things a bit more as we get older but this is ridiculous. I even forget the names of my grandchildren. I forget appointments, even having no recollection of making them when reminded. I too repeat myself, get disoriented and one day ended up at the wrong hospital. There is a catalogue of events relating to this. I also have problems with walking and use a stick to keep my balance. I empathise completely with Tammy. I am coming off this drug but I also wonder if my memory will return and I can walk straight again. My doctor did tell me that this drug is notorious for side effects!
      I see Mindy in Australia has just to stop it immediately. It must be worrying. I was on 150mg per day, have been put on 75mg per day for two weeks and then 2weeks with nothing. I can’t understand any doctor allowing a patient to stop it immediately especially on such a high dose. I take only 75mg and being weaned off.
      To Verna in Oregon. My heart goes out to you. The side effects are bad enough without your horrendous treatment by the medical profession. I hope things improve for you and you get the treatment you deserve. My walking is diabolical. I too kind of run uncontrollably down slopes, stagger at times, my legs are all over the place never where they should be. It’s awful. I had massive lung surgery 2years ago and after was still short of breath but just put it down to post op symptoms. Eventually had a catheterisation to check lungs out but all was well. I now know it was the Lyrica. I live in hope that coming off will improve my life even a little.
      To all sufferers take care.

  14. Mindy

    I was already on lyrica for the shingles aftermath when I had a horrific car crash. In an effort to stop me being addicted to endone my doctor ramped up my lyrica dosage and put me on a new morphine drug called ‘Jurnista’. I was on 75mg lyrica in the morning and 300 mg at night for a total of 375mg. I read your stories at the 75mg mark and now I am totally freaked out. I have all of those side effects and talked to my doctor about them yesterday. The blindness and dementia were just too great to endure. Well, he isn’t weaning me off them at all! He told me to stop taking it, cold turkey, and keep,a diary of what happens. I am terrified! I fought so hard to survive a crash that I should have died in….. I certainly don’t want to go now! Will I be ok??

    • Verna Smith
      Grants Pass, Oregon

      I started taking Lyrica in March 2015 due to nerve pain from cervical stenosis.Pregabalin ( aka ) Lyrica. Sever shortness of breath,swelling of upper and lower limbs and abdomen ( Edema )uncontrollable jerking and shaking,poor coordinnation and unsteadiness walking. injurying my forehead with rug burn do to my legs taking off like a child learning to walk and going fast downhill.my walk is getting uncontrolable. can not lift my legs without assistance.memory and confusion problems. the Pharmacist told me to just stop taking the med and said I was suffering from sever side effects of Lyrica. Ithen told me to go to urgent care immediately. Urgent care said they would not see me because they don’t treat people with shortness of breath due to medication. Went straight to the ER and after immediately being taken in I waited 5 1/2 hrs to not having any of my questions answered by the doctor in regard to what to do to counteract these side effects, he left without answering my question. At the end of the 51/2 hrs he came back and said I can give you Atavan for anxiety.I refused it. What a absolute horror of that experience. I have been off the Lyrica since March 26 2015 and am still suffering the effects as mention above, At 5:45 this morning my feet felt like they were being handle by remote control. I have rug burn on my forehead because my legs are no longer working correctly.I am calling Pfizer who made the product and FDA as well as filing a formal complaint against the attending physician at the hospital .I pray I get my life back soon. I am sorry for each of you that have suffered as I have. I still do not know what you have to do to get a straight answer to the question “What to take to reverse or eliminate these side effects. I left the hospital as diagnosed with shortness of breath. THAT is not a diagnosis that is a symptom , some very dangerous symptoms I might add and still have.By the way they never hooked up the IV after injecting it in me,nor give me a button to ring for help. My nephew had to bend down under the bed to get it. When I rang the button for help for my nurse she never came one time during the 5 1/2 hrs. What a nightmare. I will never go back to Three Rivers Hospital for treatment nor could I “recommend them. I will never allow the so called ‘attending” MD Drew J. Lewis. If I do not get better I am filing a lawsuit! Please reply. Thank you.

  15. London Helen
    London England

    I have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Type 3 (genetic), with CFS and fibromyalgia. I live in pain from damaged nerves and have had several operations to fix worn out joints. I just weaned off my final dose of Lyrica four days ago. I was on it for 7 months trying to get to an effective dosage to deal with the chronic pain. Over those months I stopped going out apart from light grocery shopping, I found it impossible to concentrate, felt utter confusion at the thought of performing simple tasks and feel geriatric/brain damaged.

    I would rather be bed bound in pain again, working from home rather than being brain damaged.

    I pray to God that my brain function will return (got to the pot where serving up dinner on to my dinner plate was too taxing on the brain). I still have a goldfish brain!

    I’ve lost the last 7 months of my life. I’m only 45yrs and had to give up law school.

    My doctor never warned me of any possible side effects.

  16. Judy

    I have been on lyrica 75 mg 2x daily and neurontin 800mg 3x daily now 3 weeks. I’ve have had fibromyalgia and lupus now for a year and had just been taken neutrontin. Since I began lyrica. I have been having blurred vision, muscle pain, depression and a rash with my lupus butterfly facial rash. Is it too soon for me to benefit from the lyrica? I just want relief. I felt as if I have the flu everyday. After talking to my dr he said give it time. But how much time?

  17. Dale

    Well, after reading all of the above, I know now what the heck is going on. I had a total hip replacement and the surgeons stretch my siatic nerve and now I have drop foot and nerve damage down the outer part of my leg. I started lyrica 3 months later. It was not too bad at first but then the weight gain,not being coherent most of the time,anger, sadness,unwillingness to be part of my family, so much has been happening to me and my Doctor shrugged his shoulders and basically said deal with it. So, I am. I knew I couldn’t stop taking it cold turkey so I am weaning myself off also. The side effects are almost as bad as the pain itself. I just took my last pill yesterday morning. I was up most of the night terrified for some reason. I woke up not breathing, then heart pounding so hard I really thought I was having a heart attack. I was almost to the point of calling for help but then as I sat up frightened I started to read about withdrawals. I talked myself down and am still fighting to get off it. Because I now know what to expect I will deal with it myself. Now , I just don’t know what to do about the actual pain itself. I will be gun shy from here on in. Maybe I will get my family back.
    thanks for all the help each and everyone of you have given me. Take care of your-selves!

  18. Angel P.

    I am a 50 yr old new user of lyrica And yes it works wonders for my spinal nerve pain but I must admit I am starting to feel A LOT DIFFERENT the longer I take it I can use the weight gain but my throat n gums n neck feel really bad when the med is due or missed slight headaches appearing now. I never had these before and yes I feel very very sad and alone BUT I MUST WAIT IT OUT DOES THE BENEFIT OF NERVE PAIN outweigh these symptoms thats a profound HECK YEA for me so far Now. WITHDRAWAL Is scaring me from getting off.. I hope headaches are relieved by a simple headache med & that my swollen throat w sore throat medicine again I need the weight so I hope n pray I can keep it on if no vomiting starts to be a side effect to the side side effect so AS U ALL CAN READ I AM PRAYING THAT LYRICA IS AS CLOSE TO THE REAL DEAL AS PENICILLIN TURNED OUT TO BE TO MANKIND. keep working on it & at making it better, if you can. Thank You . . Was I venting or sharing my story!

  19. Hallie

    First off, I just want to say that for all these people posting about cost, that there’s an assistance program through pfizer for lyrica and many other meds. I’ve been getting mine free for 4 years. Secondly, I have not gained weight while on it or had any swelling. I’ve actually lost 85 lbs while on it. If I didn’t have it , I wouldn’t be able to get out if bed with all my chronic pain and fibromyalgia, two badly herniated discs, one bulging disc at c5, migraines, ibs, insomnia , anxiety and depression. This med is the only reason I can move. I’ve unfortunately run out about two weeks ago thanks to my dr not faxing correct papers . So I started withdrawing off it after 4 years being on it. Not a good feeling , but nowhere near the hell of coming off Cymbalta. That med will kill you.

    • Michele
      United States

      some people cannot get on prescription assistance because they make too much money. My own mother cannot get assistance through the drug companies for her very expensive breathing medications that were costing her $500 a month, and she is on social security, however the medications that she needed were not covered. So, please, do not tell people to go through the company and their meds will be free. You are giving people who need them false hope. Oh, and my mom’s Social security is just over $1000. How is she supposed to live off of that amount and still get her medications? She cannot. She has to have the meds, yet she cannot afford to live.

  20. Kim

    I have been on Lyrica since 2007 for Fibromyalgia. Over the years, I have had to obtain pre-authorizations from my insurance carriers time and again. I had to utilize co-pay assistance cards in order to afford this drug. I just changed insurance carriers and instead of paying $30 copay/month, I found out it has increased to $250/month! I need to wean myself off and just going from 200 mg/day to 100 is causing withdrawal symptoms in a two-day period. I am scared as I had to wean one time before when I was waiting on a pre-auth and withdrawal symptoms were very scary. I could not sleep, had cold sweats, inner trembling and all over itching. My depression was overwhelming, racing thoughts, anxiety. Well, here we go again. Only this time, I have no choice but to get off of it. I see my doctor in two days to start on gabapentin. I have no idea if it will help with my withdrawals. I wish I never would have started Lyrica to begin with! Once you are on it, be sure you have the means to stay on it; because you are pretty much stuck. Someone please tell me if gabapentin will help me with my withdrawal symptoms. Thank you.

    • Hallie

      You do realize pfizer has a medication assistance program? I’ve been on it since 2011 for my lyrica. I ran out two weeks ago thanks to my dr. Going through withdrawals now.

      Gabapentin is not even close to lyrica in being helpful . I’ve tried both . I’ve never had any issues with lyrica ; swelling , weight gain , sleepiness .. Nothing . I’ve even lost 85 lbs while on it .

      • Kim

        Hi Hallie,

        Yeah, I am using the Lyrica Co-Pay Assistance Program now. The card takes off a maximum of $70/month. My doctor rewrote my prescription and we somehow got my price down to $80/month (after the assistance program took the $70 off). My doctor’s office will be fighting this with my insurance company since my withdrawals are terrifying. So I am back on my 100mg twice a day and feel back to “normal” (whatever that is).

        As far as the medication, I too have never had side effects from Lyrica. Right away, it helped with my fibromyalgia pain. It’s the withdrawal effects that concern me. I think for now, I will have to continue on Lyrica. My central nervous system has grown accustomed to the medication; to stop it after 7 years of usage has too many adverse effects on my body.

        There is also a psychological component to this as well. Lyrica helps with my depression and when I was withdrawing from it, I had all kinds of horrible thoughts. I have had a major tragedy happen in my life that has rocked my world. To be having withdrawals on top of that is way too much for me to handle.

        I hope you have some resolution to your situation–either getting back on the Lyrica or getting through these awful side effects. I wish you the best of luck.


  21. Ron

    Been taking this for 3 weeks and I’m getting some relief, but still have back pain. Had fusion back surgery on disks 4/5 02/27/2015 and I’m still in pain, but I was in horrific pain before surgery. Tried Gabapentin (Neurontin), and would be eating a burger at Carls junior and would start crying, not out loud, but tears would come down my face, stopped taking that. After my surgery, I’m still in pain and have to sit for my job which pisses my back off.

    So I started taking Lyrica 75mg, then just upped it to 150mg and it seems to be helping a little bit, but I have dry mouth and my eyes are watering pretty bad, I thought it was from allergies till I started reading here. Still have to take percoset anyway, so I’m going to stop taking the Lyrica today and it is very expensive, the doctor gave me a prescription to move me to 300 mg which would have been $290 a month, told the pharmacy I didn’t want to pay the $290, they kept the dose at 150 mg for $145, but between the Percoset, Singular & potassium pills, I’m putting out $375 a month. Found out that percocet slows down everything in you body, breathing, bowles, everything, that is how those pills work. This is why I take Singulair to open up my airways from the percocet, so sad.

    After reading this, I’m done with Lyrica, will stop to 75mg for a week, then stop taking all together. Will se if they have something else. Be careful with Cymbalta, it worked great for me, but it made me hold water and raise your blood pressure and also made me sweat really bad which made me dehydrated, which caused 15 kidney stones and three surgeries to remove the kidney stones. Plus, I went thru withdrawls for 7 weeks. Best of luck for everybody.

  22. mandy a.

    I am currently taking pregablin have been for over a year now I’m on 200mg twice a day I have fibromyalgia and restless leg syndrome. Also very bad depression. I have gained 3 stone since taking this awful drug! My memory is so bad I am very agitated. Really bad mood swings. But I’m frightened of coming of them as I was on gabapentin before pregablin for 5 month and my old doctor took me of them without weening me. I had terrible depression, I was suicidal my mum and fianc√© had to take me to the hospital. I’m scared I may feel that way again.

  23. Wilma

    First, a huge thank you to everyone who has shared their experiences with getting off of Lyrica. At my last appt I was given 2 sample packs to “try”. Because of the 70% hike in out of pocket costs since Obamacare went into effect – all part of the “Affordable Care Act”, the first thing I did was search out the cost for the suggested dose, and then with the insurance formulary. It requires special approval AND is only covered at 50%. … around $300 if not approved, $150 if approved, and that’s just the starting off dose. Given the hundreds and hundreds of dollars already marching out every month, I had a problem justifying another $150-$300 regardless of how well it works. Also as I’m sure many have experienced “special approval” can be fleeting. I can only imagine starting to take this and having insurance later pull the approval, leaving me with either a forced withdrawal or $300/mo to keep going and/or however long the weaning process would be.

    After reading what most everyone has gone through with Lyrica, and trying to remove it from their lives, I have made the informed decision to not take a single dose. I opened the sample box to read through their information sheet and will be returning this horrific substance to the doctor. At the last appt they said “you need Lyrica.” I am glad it has worked the miracle for some. However for the rest whose personal lives are crumbling due to the side effects and the withdrawal- I echo the sentiment ‘how did this ever get through the FDA’?

    Another heart felt thank you to those willing to share, you have saved another person from having to go through the same thing . I refuse to “give a try” after my doctors said I “need” it. Thank you.

    • Kim

      Hi Wilma,

      I am so glad you made the decision not to even try Lyrica! I have been on it since 2007 and it has always been relatively affordable. I filled my last prescription two days ago and WITH insurance approval, my co-pay went up to $250/month (from $30)! I have no choice but to get off this horrible medication I, at one time, praised. I have begun to take 100 mg from my normal 200 mg the past two days and the withdrawal symptoms are beginning. I had to wean one time before, but not entirely. It is a scary medication and I fear what will become of me in the next few days. Maybe Pfizer will get their way and I will have to cough up the money just so I can function. Consider it a blessing the Lyrica won’t work out for you financially. It stopped helping with my fibromyalgia pain years ago.

    • Hallie

      Pfizer has an assistance program for lyrica . You would t have to spend anything . I’ve gotten mine free for 4 years.

    • Angel Peterkin

      Yes, Wilma your one of the lucky ones who were informed so to speak but most were sold the dream as in Docs orders but as usual Help for Some And A Hinderance for the Others

  24. Jess
    Brisbane, Australia

    I was recently diagnosed with MS after dealing with muscle spasms, pin and needles and aching pain for years now my neurologist prescribed me Lyrica. As soon as I had my full 24hr dose I started getting agonizing pain in my hands that radiated up my arms. I went to the dr and they said it can’t be the meds. I’ve been on it for a month now gained from 10kgs, have severe insomnia, fatigue, nausea, lack in concentration, no ability to hold a conversation, memory problems, I am agitated all the time for no good reason, moody, irregular periods, unable to produce satisfactory amount of urine, feeling full after fluid, fevers and the list would go on. I have more side effects than I do symptoms from my MS. I have decided to when myself off because I feel so horrible all the time and I’m only 21 yr old with a 21month old son. I just want to feel normal again.

  25. Diana

    I started taking Lyrica when I had a compressed nerve in my neck. I found it really helped with my fibromalgia pain too. Thought it was a great pain reliever until, within weeks I was crying for no reason, gained 15 pounds in one month. My eyes are teary and I was so emotional and short tempered. I tried to get off the Lyrica and I sweat all night, pain and no sleep. So I am still weaning. I hope this stops soon. I don’t know how long it takes to get out of my system. As you all know chronic pain is horrible but I don’t think Lyrica is the right answer. Not to mention my doctors didn’t believe me either.

  26. Lisa S
    Ft. Worth, TX


    I have been on Lyrica since I was approximately 29 years old (I am now 35). I started taking it after being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, and was given the maximum dosage of 600mg a day. In addition to being high as a kite, I gained a tremendous amount of weight (about 30 lbs). I took this dosage for several years before attempting a much lower dosage of 300mg a day. I went down to this dosage immediately, without weaning down slowly. I remember the withdrawal symptoms well. I had horrific nightmares, insomnia, headaches, diarrhea, nausea, extreme anxiety, an overall feeling of sadness and depression, but would also experience a wide range of emotions in addition to that, including exaggerated feelings of joy and anger. I also experienced a sudden increase in pain, as well as restless legs, extreme skin sensitivity, itchiness, and a decrease in appetite. Once I became used to the lower dosage, things returned to normal. I have been on this lower dosage since then and have only recently had the desire to increase it because of residual pain due to my Fibromyalgia. I made the mistake of taking more of my prescription instead of simply speaking with my doctor, and ran out early. Luckily, I was able to get a prescription for Gabapentin, but it only helps with the withdrawal symptoms somewhat. I have still experienced much of what I described above, unfortunately, leading me to believe that the Gabapentin is not helping as much as I thought it was. In addition to going through Lyrica withdrawal, I am also coming off of Xanax. I have made a conscious decision to stop taking it because I don’t want to become dependent on it. Well, as you all know, coming off of a benzo cold-turkey is dangerous, and I have had a seizure as a result.
    Although I will completely stop taking Xanax, I will not stop taking Lyrica. Despite the withdrawal symptoms, it is easy to take responsibly when you have the right dosage and is a miracle drug, in my humble opinion. It helps *tremendously* with pain, and I highly recommend it to anyone diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, neuropathic pain, diabetic pain, etc. The key is to take the lowest dose possible that helps with pain, and like with all drugs, it is to be taken responsibly.

  27. Beth

    I took Lyrica for fibromyalgia, I gained over 20 lbs. It didn’t help the pain as much as I thought it would and gaining the weight definitely didn’t help at all.
    I did wean off of Lyrica with the help of a doctor over the period of 6 weeks. I have complicated migraines that are debilitating and take about five days to recuperate from. They leave the left side of my body weak and numb. I have a hard time talking and making sense when this is going on. I wish I had known before I ever started taking it how it could affect me even just getting off of it. I no longer am taking it.
    Recently, the doctor mentioned that I should try Cymbalta, and after reading about the problems with that drug there is no way in Hades I would even take money to try it!!! This experience with Lyrica has been far too painful and scary for my husband, the family and myself.

  28. Steph
    Brisbane AU

    About 3 1/2 months ago I woke up with a migraine and have had it ever since. None of the usual migraine medications worked until one day my new doctor prescribed me lyrica. He assured me there were NO withdrawal effects so I was obviously thrilled. I still constantly had the headache and occasional migraine but the pain was so much more bearable! After a month off work I was able to go back, but my memory was terrible, I couldn’t keep track of conversations and I gained 10Kg in a month!
    Finally got in to see a neurologist and he has put me on Deralin, slowly increasing my dose of that while also decreasing my dose of Lyrica. Withdrawals have included nausea, vomiting, headaches (different to the usual one), chills, aches, tingling in fingers and toes and now a late period (not pregnant). As a painkiller, lyrica was amazing but the side effects and now withdrawals are terrible. I have completely finished Lyrica as of 2 days ago and can not wait until it is completely out of my system! Deralin has done the trick and I can now go a couple of hours at a time without headaches.
    Let me know if you have had these symptoms, hopefully by sharing my experience you’ll know you’re not alone!

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