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. rachel
    great falls, montana

    I recently found out I have diabetic neuropathy. I was seen by a NPR. She told me to take lyrica and neurotin at the same time twice a day. I went to the pharmacy and when they filled my medications they told me that taking these medications together were very unheard of here. And to take strong warning when I do. So that night I took my first dose. Within two minutes I couldn’t see anything. I couldn’t walk and I was unable to talk. A family member helped me to bed. I then selept for 13 hours. I woke up and my left leg was swollen five times the size of the other leg. I then began having seizures. And every since my sugars have been in the 20’s and won’t go up. So I caution anyone and everyone one taking these drugs at the same time.

    • Pauline
      San Jose, California

      Can anyone comment on how long the withdrawal lasts. After tapering off, I have been off @0!! Lyrica for about 7 weeks. About 10 days ago I noticed withdrawal symptoms starting up again. I have trouble swallowing and there is constantly a feeling like I’m starting to choke + all the itching, nausea, anxiety, sweating, etc. Has anyone discovered how to manage these symptoms?

      Even with all of this I am truly more willing to go through all these symptoms even for the rest of my life just to be rid of the Lyrica. It turned me into a sleeping, absent minded, completely forgetful, unfocused, unable to do anything person. I lost my job because I was such a mess and almost lost my spouse.

      One thing to do to taper even slower is to alternate doses. I learned this from tapering off Prozac. For example, 2 pills one day, 1 pill the next day. Even 2,2,1 – then 212, then 211, then 111, then 101. etc. At least two weeks at each step. I didn’t cut my pills up because I think you should use a very accurate lab scale if you are going to do this without hurting yourself. What I also did was increase/decrease the hours between doses to get 5-10 mg drops in dose per step. Using this method I did not have any serious withdrawal symptoms until now.

  2. Lynn

    My problem with Lyrica–prescribed for persistent pain after rotator cuff surgery–was NOT that it made me feel terrible, like so many of those who commented here. No, it made me feel very, very good–energetic, euphoric, free of all my different kinds of pain, from damaged nerves, to torn muscle, even trigger points and arthritic fingers. And I slept great!

    But Lyrica turned out to be a deal with the devil, since it also slowed my thinking, left huge holes in my memory, and caused rapid weight gain and swollen hands and legs. I took it only for about three months, 150 mg 2 X day, and coming off it has caused sleeplessness, crying jags, and a pervasive feeling of being overwhelmed.

    Because of two surgeries, I was on Norco almost daily for six months, but I never became addicted. I became addicted to Lyrica almost right away. My advice: avoid this drug.

  3. Melissa

    I am withdrawing right now. Only was taking 150 per day, and tried every other day taking 150 and 100 for a week. Next is to just stay with 100 for awhile, then do the same with 100 and 50.

    BUT-I am nauseated all day, not sleeping well, and sweating like nobody’s business. Working out hard, but it’s almost embarrassing how much sweat I’m producing, even sitting still. I’m not ready to give up. My doctor is committed to helping me with this. If you have a doctor who is not up to date enough to understand withdrawal from Lyrica or SSRI’s, get NEW DOCTOR.

  4. Tyler

    Wow I have similar things going on I have trigeminal neuralgia in my face & was prescribed this med on Friday. Start dose 300mg to work up to 600mg well after taking 300mg for 3 days NEVER again, anxiety through the roof, weird thoughts, feet don’t feel like they’re part of my body, chin & neck feel strange.

    I am also a chronic pancreatitis sufferer so I am on oxy for that (I don’t drink alcohol) and I am also on diazapam for anxiety & muscle relaxing properties, I’ve tried 17 times to get off diazapam and can’t do it. I am only on 10mg a day and I’m a 40 year old female been on it since 17 so familiar with the living hell that is benzo w/d, I’m worried that after only three days use this is w/d from lyrica. I am thinking about taking extra diazapam tonight (I do this VERY RARELY) as I’m living alone and worried as can be, so glad I stopped taking this med on Sunday awful side effects feet are swollen too I’m sweating loads as well & it’s cold weather.

    However it’s the mental side that’s terror, anxiety & paranoid very badly, I can’t sit still and I’ve not used it for 2 days is this side effects or w/d ?. I wish you all good luck in recovery God I hate being dependent on prescription meds. I like many others worry what would I do without diazapam, oxycontin does not worry me so much as that’s easier to get off than benzos not fun though. Again love to all Tyler xxx

  5. K

    I was put on Zoloft for hot flashes and Lyrica for fibromyalgia after treatment for breast cancer in 2001. In 2009, I started weaning Zoloft over four months and then Lyrica over four months. It was not long (about 6 weeks) and I became very sick with flu-like symptoms, pain “jumping around,” dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, mental blackness. I persisted not taking the meds for 10 months with NO relief ever. When I finally relented and took the Lyrica, I was instantly better. I went back on the Zoloft. Here I am, six years later still on the meds. I wonder what would happen if I could no longer get these drugs. I never thought I would be a drug addict. I was told by my doctor that there was no such thing as Lyrica/Zoloft withdrawal. It helps to see by the other reports that I am not alone. That is why I am writing this now.

    • Melissa

      K. , I have had this same experience with zoloft and lyrica. I found information on SSRI withdrawal symptoms, and what you describe is just what they report.

      Like you, I wonder if and how I’ll ever get off of these drugs. Hang in there.


  6. David V.

    I am a Canadian male aged 71 and a half, living in Morocco for over six years. Last May I was diagnosed with Shingles. Once the blisters on forehead dried up and went away, the intense pain on the right side of my head and right eye continued. I have come to learn that what I have now is Postherpetic Neuralgia.

    Since early in June I have been using Lyrica, 150mg morning and night. Lyrica has eliminated the hot pain attacks (like a seizure) I would have several times a day inside my head. However, I still have pain on the right side of my head and eye, not as bad as previously, for which I am using Paracetamol.

    For various reasons, I would like to cut back on my consumption of Lyrica, and plan to do it slowly.

    I would like to hear from others who have had Shingles or Postherpetic Neuralgia. I want to know how you managed the pain, and if you used Lyrica.

  7. Linda

    I had a bad neck herniation and two neurosurgeons could not figure out how to read an MRI. They said nothing was wrong with me. I went on gabapentin due to the terrible pain down my arms. When I got to 600 mg. I began having leg pain—heaviness. My legs felt like I ran a marathon. No one knew these were side effects. Another doctor told me to increase my gabapentin to help the pain. I went to 900 mg per day. Soon, I almost could not walk. The muscles in my legs (quads), glutes, and low back were locked up. I could barely go up and down my stairs or get out of my car. After I found a competent surgeon, I had neck surgery. I began weaning off gabapentin. Each drop was hellish. After seven months of tapering in small bits (opening capsules and splitting the contents) I got off of gabapentin. Immediately, my legs were normal. I could jump out of bed again. But my arms hurt a lot yet. So I asked to try Lyrica. I was pleased with it and went to 300 mg per day immediately. One day I went downtown and did a lot of walking. Instantly, my quads, glutes and low back seized up again. I was in agony and could barely stand to walk to do anything again. I began the weaning process. I decided to drop it quickly. I went from 250 mg to 175. I was a bawling hysterical pain ridden person. A total nightmare. Then I was told by some in the medical field that a person must taper very slowly on this drug. Great. I could hardly walk. My quads riddled with knots and my knees and hips killing me. I took a long time to get all the way to 20 mg and my life went nuts. Again, a bawling hysterical person. I increased to dose all the way to over 100mg per day again. It took nearly a month to feel good again. It was horrible. Panic, crying, pacing, etc….. So now, I am at 70mg. again. I open capsules and then dump the powder (which is not time released) into clear capsules you can get at the healthfood store. Then I measure with a sharpie. I drop the dose a little every few days. it’s agonizing. I had no idea that Lyrica would be much worse to get free of than gabapentin. Both DO work for nerve pain, but you will have to pay the piper if you want to get off of them some day. My advice would be to use them at the smallest dose possible which helps pain. And when you start taking them, wait a few weeks before raising the dose. It can take awhile to work. Now I will tackle the last 70mg and hope I can conquer this monster.

  8. Justy

    I’ve only been on Lyrica for 3 days and I already can’t do it with the side effects. It’s been triggering my depression and anxiety while it was under control thanks to Effexor before. Now I also suffer headaches, stabbing pains, burning pains, itchiness, nausea and dizziness, I have so low energy that the people around me have noticed the sudden change, etc. I’m stopping it right away, from what I’ve read the more you have side-effects, the worse the withdrawal, so I’m not going that way, hell no.

  9. Berni

    I suffer from severe chronic spine pain from failed fusion surgeries, nerve damage, sciatic dysfunction and intercostal neuralgia. A new pain mgt doctor mistakenly diagnosed fibromyalgia as well. He added Lyrica to my cocktail of pain medication. The first day I had severe muscle pain in every single muscle in my body. Even in parts of my body that didn’t have pain. I felt like I hadn’t even taken my strong pain medication and my hands and feet/ankles were swollen to the point I thought my skin was going to crack open. I also had a fever. No exaggeration.

    I decided I was not taking anymore Lyrica. I called the doctor to let them know about my “side effects.” They said to stop taking lyrica. The next day the extreme muscle pain was gone except the normal spots but it took a few days for the inflammation to dissipate. Lyrica – bad for me. Now I’m still on opioids (OMG I’m not addicted. Yes there are people who don’t get addicted to pain meds), Gralise (can’t tolerate more than 900 but it cuts the burning pain in half), muscle relaxer, injections, injections, injections. 2 spinal cord stimulators to be implanted soon. Yikes!

    • Linda

      Hi Berni,
      I so agree with you. My muscles hurt so bad on this drug, but the withdrawal after being on it for any length of time is beyond horrific. I am still on 70 mg. and creeping downward. I dropped 50 mg. over the span of a month and had the melt down from hell…panic, anxiety, extreme pain unlike my original injury. You were smart to stop soon. My muscles did not spasm until I was on a large dose for a month or so. Agonizing low back, thigh and glute pain!! Still, at 70 mg. I sit on a heating pad every evening to release the muscles. My thighs have large sore knots. AND I also agree that there are people on pain meds who are not addicts. I am so tired of the stigma. It is a cruel thing that people heap that on those who are already suffering in pain. I take hydrocodone 10s and I do not crave them ever. The only time I have felt desperate is when my pain exceeded the relief. I have recovered quite a bit since my neck surgery, but I need the pain meds for the terrible hip pain that is caused from the Lyrica! If I can conquer Lyrica, I will start reducing the hydrocodone. Sadly, the doctors do not know about this hip/leg and buttock thing. They do not recognize low back pain and myalgia I guess!!! Nice to read your post.

  10. carol

    I have been suffering from trigeminal neuralgia for 26 years. Was on tegretol for about 18 years and was working to point when I developed a tolerance and was told to add lyrica. Gave me much relief and could function very well with flare ups that sometimes were very painful. About a year ago flare ups were getting worse so my lyrica was boosted to 300 mgs a day and 200 of tegretol. Stress really a factor in my flare ups and have learned to try to control that in my life. I have gained weight, on lyrica but it is a small price to pay for relief from the pain.

    I recently changed insurance policies at my job and was sent a letter that my lyrica would no longer be covered and had to try 2 more lower cost prescription. I went to my doctors office to show them letter and ask what we could do about it. I was given prescription for duloxetine (generic Cymbalta) 30 mg once a day. This meant I stopped taking lyrica cold turkey. Within 2 days I had severe nausea, headaches, cold sweats, chills and no appetite. anything, including water, came right back out and I was basically bed bound. The nausea was so severe that even standing up was impossible. It was now going into Saturday, so of course the my doctors office was closed. I spent the weekend in bed and miserable. called first thing Monday morning and got drs. appointment. When I got there doctor gave me shot of demerol and anti nausea medicine in order to get belly x-rays and blood work done. He gave me prescriptions for muscle relaxers, and ulcer medication and changed my medicine for the facial pain to baclofen 10 mgs 3 times a day. Symptoms did not go away at all. I spent another 2 days in misery. My daughter was then informed of how sick I was and came to my rescue!! She did a lot of research on internet and we determined that I was going through withdrawal cold turkey from the lyrica.

    Because my insurance company was still denying me the prescription we decided that paying out of pocket at 300 dollars a month would be worth it to stop my withdrawal pain. Within 6 hours of taking lyrica my stomach pain and nausea was starting to disapate and I actually started to feel like I had an appetite… within 2 doses I actually started to feel human again. called doctor and now he realized that all this was because I had been going through withdrawal. I would like doctors to realize this is a serious mistake and dangerous to have patients quit lyrica cold turkey. Slowly getting back some strength and feeling there is some light at the end of the tunnel. Thank you to my daughter again for stepping in and and doing all the research. The pain I was in made it impossible to have accomplished any of this on my own, instead of me sitting here and typing this experience I would have been in the hospital instead.

  11. Jason

    I’m writing for my wife who was prescribed Lyrica and Effexor for MS .
    At first taking the poison she was sick alot then started to sleep alot. Her moods began to change and anger seem to be the most . She almost showed signs of every listed side effect and the pain eventually was not being help by the meds and the meds were raised in mg. This knocked her out most of the time causing her to be stuck in bed most of the time with side effects still and missing family get together’s , holiday celebration’s , birthdays , ect… After a while the higher dose started to fail. Things started to get real bad at this time and weening off made it extremely scary when mind confusion ,paranoia , words and sentences made no sense. Also she has had no sleep in eight days and has repetitive down spirals with outbursts of rage and trowing things. Everything to her seems like the first time and she is terrified of everything she is thinking of. I have had only a few hours sleep for fear of her hurting herself or me ( I usually sleep during her short calm periods ). She has muscle spasms ,shakes and seizure like shaking periods.
    I could go on about all the problems this poison has caused both physically and mentally to both patient and family . But most know this drug is not for them , others will find out the hard way , but hopefully all will avoid this nightmare before it’s to late.

    • Paula

      Jason I withdrew cold turkey from effexor about 10 years ago. I was told by my GP it was worse than quitting heroine. After 8 weeks of bell I switched to citolapram and after taking that for a couple of months stopped taking it. Citolapram is a much less aggressive withdrawal. It made me a bit sick for just under two weeks. I find citolapram really helps my pms so I started taking it again after the birth of my daughter.

      Unfortunately I was prescribed pregabli n 2 months ago. Stopped cold turkey, absolutely couldn’t take the withdrawal. I am now tapering over 8 days – I’m on day 8 and its manageable. I am currently taking cocodamol for a shoulder injury and the pharmacist did mention that would help the withdrawal.

      I would tackle one drug at a time and even switch to a different drug that is proven easier do stop.

      Goog luck

  12. Audrey
    dublin Ireland

    I will avoid Lyrica at all costs. I was on 150mg 3 times daily for 20 months. I had all the side effects listed above whilst on it and the withdrawal of it has been an absolute killer. I have one more week to go and then I will be off it having been slowly weening off it for the last 5 weeks. I will never put as much as a 5mg dosage of it past my lips ever ever again and I would strongly tell anyone I know and love to avoid it and look for an alternative to their chronic pain or disorder.

    • Linda

      Thanks for your comments. I am trying to wean off of Lyrica. I am down to 70 mg per day. I have to open the capsules and then whittle on the dose. Clear capsules from the health food store make it possible to drop the dose in tiny bits. I called the company and the drug is not time released. Even creeping off of it is torture. I almost got off of it and then had a melt down and could not cope. I have heard that the last part of the taper is the hardest and that a person has to go extremely slow at that point. Good luck to you. I am right behind you trying to get off this terrible drug.

      • Melissa

        Thank you for posting these comments, both of you. I am in the same boat. Slowly weaning off of Lyrica, but even doing that is so difficult. I feel pretty sick most of each day. I have taken to drinking lots of alka seltzer and every once in awhile, a quarter of a dramamine tablet can help. The sweating, low grade fever, and poor sleep are really frustrating. Hang in there. You are NOT alone.

  13. donna
    syracuse, NY

    I had lyrica 100mg twice a day added to pain meds for lower back pain, I have already had a fusion. The dr increased to 300mg. I started noticing a metal taste in my mouth and not being able to taste sweets so I decreased to 100mg once a day and the metallic taste has subsided but I am so nauseous AND anxious, it is not funny. I wished I had known all this to start with because I don’t think I would have done this to myself!! I took 1/2 a 100mg about an hr ago and feel the side effects diminish. I guess it will have to be a very gradual decrease.

  14. Sean

    My symptoms of withdrawal right now is fatigue through my whole body. I’m down to one 75mg every 3 days from 2 a day. It does suck and is hard but I’m pushing through it so I can get off them.

    I have an undiagnosed neuro condition off a bad lumbar sprain that has resulted in mild to sometimes debilitating nerve pain down my whole right side. Lyrics has not helped me at all which is why I’m getting off it.

    • Sandy

      I was on Lyrica for 5 months and it did not good. Took 75 mg two times a day. Now down to 75 mg once a day. I have really got problems with burning in my arms and my muscles in my arms hurts and burning in neck and face… Are you finally off and how long did it take you to get off the 75 mg.. Did you have the burning problems I am having.

  15. Martha

    After gabapentin not working for Fibro, nor Trigeminal Neuralgia, I thought I found the Wonder-Drug, Lyrica. I was started at 75mg AM & PM. At night, it helped me sleep & feel refreshed. I could even wear my mouthguard again after 2 years. I could NOT take it during the day. It caused me to feel drunk, like I was on LSD & popped 2 sleeping pills. Completely nonfunctional at my detail-oriented, multi-tasking job with the public. Over the 1st week, I had more difficulty concentrating, balancing, coordinating my body, dropping things, speech issues. The 2nd week, I became increasingly emotional; crying & irritable to an abrupt breakdown. I was not myself. I started considering “exit strategies” & was having a difficult time finding my rational self. I’ve stopped as of yesterday. I am experiencing awful rebound pain & insomnia, furthering my incapacitation to work.
    I’m sensitive to many anti-depressants & anti-anxiety meds, some flat out allergic. First time experiencing this extreme…And I’ve been dealing with Chronic Health Issues (Fibro related) & a compromised immune system since childhood.
    I’m on HSV Suppression for various forms of the herpesviruses now (Chickenpox/Shingles, Mononeucleosis 3 times & HSV2). I do believe my antivirals became less effective while on Gabapentin & Lyrica. For anyone carrying these viruses (as many do & they don’t go away), that can be dangerous. There is under recognition for viral meningitis; which mimics Fibro & treatments are similar. However, the meningitis causes permanent neurological damage & could even be fatal. It gets into your CSF, Vagus Nerve, Gut Tissues & is one of the few causes for Trigeminal Neuralgia (usually blamed on TMJ). So, I suggest anyone in this position to do your research! Many doctors haven’t even heard of it & won’t connect the dots for you. Get to the bottom of your Fibro (HSV-chicken or the egg, LYMES, MS, PTSD, major Vitamin Deficiencies, etc…). There are more answers out there. Don’t give up & trust your intuition!

  16. Jackie

    If I just knew this before! I had multiple ankle surgeries and my doctor finally realized it was neurological pain. I started with 50 mg of Lyrica twice a day. The pain, burning and stabbing was gone in one week of therapy. But this med took my life wrong way.
    I can’t use my brain, I feel I have no control over my life because I am so miserable. Its as though someone else lives in my body and I just tag along. Weird un-personal sensation all day long, I don’t have words to explain. Never before in my life this happen to me. I gained 15 lb in four months of taking it and my hair falls off in chunks. Not that I needed to gain any in fact I had to loose that much. I have been severely constipated since day one, no stool softener helps. In the morning I shake like drug addict.
    So I decided to wean myself off. Ha!! First day I moved my dose past one hour I started bouncing off the walls. So I came here and to many other blogs online to read what people have to say. Yes I know, this is not professional service, but as one blogger said, no doctor want to listen about side effects. I want my life back and I will wean myself off slowly every day till I am done! After two weeks I am on one dose once a day. It looks like I have stopped gaining weight now. I am still crazy, forgetful, confused, irritated, weird person. People used to call me “jolly” now I am monster.
    There must be other ways to deal with pain but this monster. Good luck everyone, I wish all of you best!!

    • Michele

      In 2006 I was diagnosed with lymphoma – lost a kidney and went thru chemo and have been in remission now some 8 years. However, the chemo left me with peripheral neuropathy which began in my feet and has spread to my hand. I am now 72 and just lived with the pain up until a year ago when I asked my doctor if he could give me something to help ease the electric shock pain. He prescribed gabapentin I took it for 3 days and was so out of it, I just stopped taking it and again lived with the pain. 6 months later, I asked my doctor if he would prescribe Lyrica which he did. The prescribed dose was 75 mg for 3 days and than increase to 75 mg twice daily. The first 3 days I felt a bit drunk (by the way I DO NOT drink), so I never started the second dose and remained on 75 mg per day. Now, 6 months later, 75 mg of Lyrica for the most part is still control the pain. I have been to see my ophthalmologist because I thought I was loosing my sight as my vision was getting so blurry, but he said my prescription hadn’t changed and he saw nothing that could be causing my blurred vision. I’ve also gained 7 pounds with no change in my eating habits. But the worst is my hair loose. I now have bald spots larger than silver dollars. I’m starting to slowly back off the Lyrica and am terrified of the pain returning.

  17. dorothy
    south carolina

    lyrica has reduced my pain……terrible pain in my feet hands back everywhere. I had taken gabapentin for years and it really helped the terrible pain in my legs and feet. but I got so fat so fast I could not convince my dr. that I was not eating too much and I was getting as much exercise as I could take. it pisses me off that the dr’s don’t believe you when you tell them your not pigging out. so then he put me on lyrica. at first it was a mirical. I would have eaten the whole bottle just for the pain it relieved. but after a short time and taking gabapentin too. I was huge and could hardly move and fell down over and over. I broke my foot and now I have to wear a permanent brace. I am having visions and lo-sugar with dehydration. I have to keep going to the hospital for treatment. I don’t know what to do. I think I will stop taking the gabapentin and take one 75mg lyrica per day. i’ll see how that works. I am 61 yrs. old and I can’t take the pain. I have had 26 surgeries due to osteoarthritis and other things. I am no sissy to pain but this is too much for me…………………………………………………..

  18. Julie

    I’ve been. On lyrica 300 Mlg for a year for fibro. My Dr stopped me cold turkey. I’m now hurting, aching, and my pain is out of my control. I have or should I say I had high pain tolerance but no more. I wish I would of never. Been put on this drug!

  19. Frank

    First and foremost I need to get this off my chest. When did “Google” become a substitute for years of medical school and practice? It agitated me when I read people who want their doctor to ‘Google It’ because the professional disagrees with the patient’s self diagnoses.

    In any event, I was placed on Lyrica 300mg per day (150mg in the morning and 150mg at 8pm). I was placed on it for nerve pain following a neck injury and also to help control my general anxiety disorder. I was taking 2mg of Ativan per day and am now down to 1mg every 2nd day so it did it’s job on the anxiety but it lost its effectiveness on the nerve pain after about 5 months.

    Major side effect was weight gain and water retention. My doctor cut my dose to 75mg 2xday (150mg daily). My doctor so specializes in addiction management by the way. I stayed in this dose for 4 weeks. I then did another 4 weeks at 75mg taken with Lunch. I did that for 4 weeks and then took 75mg every two days for 2 weeks. The result was a very gradual taper with no side withdrawal symptoms.

    As for the weight and water retention I started noticing improvement about a week into the reduced dose and by the time at was on 75mg daily I had actually started to notice looser fitting clothing. I now see results of my weight loss efforts whereas no matter what an did on Lyrica I couldn’t she’d weight.

    The medication worked but I would never take it again if given a choice. The weight loss was significant as was the edema from water retention. I had blurry vision most nights with some morning grogginess after taking morning dose.

    The biggest issue for me as hair loss and hair thinning. This started about 3 weeks after I started the medication. My hair was falling out in clumps and my hair became straw-like with no body or life. It feels like thread.

    I’m 2 weeks off the medication so I’m hoping that the hair issue starts to correct itself as the weight did.

    Anyways, these are my experiences on Lyrica and I understand that no two people are the same. However if you trust your doctor when starting the medication there is no need to turn to Dr. Google when you want to stop or when you want to discuss side effects. If your doctor doesn’t want to listen, seek a second opinion.

    Most importantly, never rely on discussion forums or search engines when it comes to matters of your health. There is nothing worse than self diagnosis.

    • marina witsky

      You have totally misses the point Frank!
      Asking the doctor to google Lyrica withdrawal was an invitation to discover the countless patients complaining of withdrawal symptoms online despite some clinicians submissions that withdrawal does not exist. No knee is suggesting you opt for Google advice over your doctor! Thanks for your 2 cents though.

      • Linda

        I see your point and agree. The sad part is the doctors read their little pamphlet from the drug company which says that people can go off this drug in a week! A week?? I would be in the nut house. My doctor said I could get off of the drug in a week. But in reality (as a person on this stuff) I cannot do that. I dropped my dose by 50 mg. over the span of a month (gradually) and I had panic attacks, anxiety and triple the pain of my original injury. So that is why we turn to Google. I have found some helpful hints on there about how to get off this terrible drug. I would like to trust my doctor, but unfortunately, he has not read the REAL experiences of those on the drug (not from the drug company that wants to sell the drug). Some people weather the withdrawal better than others. I want to trust my doctor, but I know he, as in most of them, are out of touch with the real experiences of these drugs. My opinion is that doctors should diagnose (if that is possible) and pharmacists should prescribe. There would be a lot less deaths if that were the case!!

  20. Elle
    United Kingdom

    Well I’ve just had my first dose of pregablin last night after trying gabapentin (unsuccessfully). I have to take it for sciatica and pain from bulging disc pushing on a nerve. So I took my dose last night at 8pm and I woke up sorry was woken up by other half at 11.30 am!! Thankfully he got children of too school as I would still be asleep now. Taking pregablin was the most bizarre experience ever. I hallucinated, was unable to stand ordered food at midnight as I was hungry, by the time it arrived I couldn’t feed myself. The whole “experience ” was like a mixture of drunk and tripping (I have never taken LSD before but imagine it to be like this) I went from happy to sobbing floating etc and it lasted until I went to bed. When woken I had a headache, my eyes are hurting and blurry my hands are shaking… I’m tolerant to most meds but this was something else. There is no way I could take these daily and function normally. Is this normal? Has anyone had extreme effects like this? It looks like it back to numbness and stabbings pains again!!(very hard to explain to others how you can be numb yet feel stabbing pains there! Don’t you think?) if this is garbled I apologize but I’m still shaking and vision blurred..

  21. Audrey
    dublin Ireland

    Hated taking the lyrica. I was on 450mg per day. I can relate to all that has already been said. I cannot remember what I did yesterday, and I feel I am on the outside looking in. I have stepped down to 300mg in the last 10 days and I feel awful, so scared. I have to get down to 150mg in two more weeks.

    I cannot wait to get off it for good and I will never ever put one past my mouth again. I have a spinal cord stimulator implant now so getting pain relief from that. I will be so relieved when I get off Lyrica completely. If your doc suggests it for you, question its side effects seriously. I just did as I was told and now I am the real sufferer!


    Well, lyrica has saved my life I was in so much pain that the thought of suicide was my only way out from the pain. My diabetes is not under control so they opted not to do surgery on my hands and feet so I was forced to live in pain. I couldn’t walk, I wasn’t sleeping and I WAS IN PAIN. My toes felt like someone has wrapped rubber bands around them and cut off the blood flow. You could not touch my feet. Since I have been on lyrica I can walk my toes are not sore, I am sleeping. I feel like I have my life back and I have lost 5lbs. LIFE IS GOOD!

  23. Renee
    Northern Ohio

    Reading all of this scares the hell out of me. I’ve been on Lyrica since 2009 for my feet. I knew about the side effects from the get-go but I just recently started reading forums like this where REAL people talk about their unbiased experiences. This really has me worried. I had depression, anxiety, and addiction issues (alcohol) BEFORE I started Lyrica. Since then the depression and anxiety has become progressively worse to the point where I can’t even enjoy the things that used to make me happy. My short term memory is shot, although I initially blamed that on the years of alcohol abuse.

    I have gained weight as well. I get headaches and although I don’t have blurred vision, my eyesight still feels a little “off” at times. I blamed that on the years of nearsightedness.

    I’ve been off the drug before, but my feet go right back to hurting and I can’t sleep. On the other hand I noticed that my short-term memory improved, at least temporarily. The memory loss and foggy head really concern me, though.

  24. Ewen

    Lyrica made me depressed with suicidal thoughts for the year I was on it

  25. Sally

    I have just finished going through the withdrawal symptoms after going cold turkey from pregabalin. What a horrendous drug it was, left me stuttering for my words. I had blurred vision, memory problems and depression. After stopping the drug I had terrible itching all over, restless legs, aches all over my body and a feeling of detatchment. Now 8 still have pain from my bulging discs and nerve impingement, but the pain isn’t as bad as before I started the drugs. I think pain worsens through anxiety and the inability to cope with a change in your once good health. I don’t think drugs are the answer now, I believe yoga, meditation, walking, massage and positive thinking help more. I may one day need an operation, just holding off from that as long as possible. The thought of being reliant on these drugs again worries me so much. I am better without them, I can only suggest others try, because you might find you weren’t getting as much pain relief from them as you once thought. The placebo affect plays its part, the metal addiction to these drugs is powerful, you fear the pain returning, so think you need them for longer than you actually do. Maybe dvo cold turkey. I stupidly stopped everything I was taking all in one go. Pregabalin, naproxen, paracetamol with tramadol and omeprazole for stomache. I also cut out caffeine…oh my goodness I think it could have killed me hahaaa but after such a nasty withdrawl, my pain is not so bad now. :-) Good luck and god bless you all with these awful conditions that put you through so much pain and make you turn to drugs which are damaging to your minds and bodies. Without them we think more clearly and can be free to feel what is really going on inside. Alternative therapies are the way forward and a positive outlook on life. I hope you all find a better way as I have done.

    • penny

      Hi Sally, just wondered how long did your withdrawal symptoms last? I am on day two of cold turkey and I feel the sooner this stuff is out my system the better. I have been on Lyrica for nearly a year and other painkillers. The panic and sweats drive me crazy. Hardly eaten in days too.

  26. Graham
    Suffolk UK

    To all of you struggling to get off of this medication, hang in there, it can be achieved and the horrendous, frightening and long lasting withdrawal symptoms will come to an end. I never could take Lyrica or Pregabalin as it is called here in the UK but was on a massive dose 3600mg of Gabapentin instead. I suffer from severe nerve damage in both legs as a result of failed back surgery syndrome.

    I took Gabapentin, which is very similar in make up to Lyrica for about 4 years without any major issues and yes it did ‘shut down’ most of my debilitating pain and yes t did make me fat! Towards the end of that period I started to notice that my legs would swell up and my hair began to fall out. Not from my head but all over the rest of my body. I went from being a fairly furry guy, to having virtually no hair in a very short space of time and strange little blood blisters started to appear where my body hair had been (as I now know I was being poisoned). I had blood tests but nothing came back as conclusively causing the issues. My doctor did say he wanted to wean me down from my very high dose of medication though, so I began that process.

    One night shortly after while I was away on holiday in Ireland, in the middle of nowhere I had the most massive allergic reaction to the Gabapentin, virtually going into anaphylactic shock, it happened just moments after taking the tablet. I was VERY ill and discovered later that had I not been seen at a local hospital very quickly, I would likely have not survived. Anyway long story short. I had to quit the Gabapentin immediately, something we are advised not to do. The effect that had on my central nervous system was horrendous and debilitating and I thought permanent. I felt physically nauseous and dizzy continuously for months. I was low, depressed and lethargic. I experienced what I can only describe as weird buzzing, electric shock type sensations over the left side of my head, ear and face and tremors all over the rest of my body. They went on and on. I felt bodily ill constantly.

    Everyone, including my doctor (but not my Pharmacist) told me it could not possibly have been the medication withdrawal that had caused the issues BUT I knew differently. It was the only valid answer. It was the Gabapentin that had been responsible. It took a full 8 months before I started to feel normal again and a good year before I felt (relatively) well. What I can say to all of you suffering is please hang in there. However bad you feel It WILL get better and the horrible symptoms you are feeling will subside. Mine were very protracted BUT even I got there. I’ve now had conversations with people who have quit cold turkey and who were lucky enough to get over the Gaba imbalances in their brain in a matter of days or weeks, we are all different.

    I never ever believed I would feel ‘normal’ again BUT I did eventually. I’m through with drugs now and live as best I can with the pain. Alpha Lipoic Acid and Benfotiamine supplements help me and next month I am having a spinal cord stimulator fitted, which I am praying will give me back my life fully. Good luck and God bless to all. Remember it will get better.

    • Diana
      Cape Town

      Trying to get off 50 Lyrica in one go too. Tough, and feeling a lot of agitation, panic attacks, etc where never had those before. But the drug is so damn debilitating I had to get off, no matter how good it was for the pain (nerve pain in neck/arm). Confusion to the extent I couldn’t make decisions any longer. What kind of life is that!? I am sure I sh/not do this without help, or all at once, but I am so fed up feeling befuddled and diminished…. Now all I have to do is get through this period of anxiety and shakiness. Not sure how to deal with the pain now that lyrica is off the table, and I certainly fear trying any other wonder drug!!

    • Jamie

      How long did it take you to feel somewhat normal again after the withdrawals ?

  27. Koo

    I was prescribed lyrica for two herniated disks and a pinched nerve. Right off the bat, I had intense blurred vision (almost crashed my car) and nausea, not to mention it made me ravenous, to the point I was eating food barely cooked to just get it in my mouth. This was quite different than my usual eat a meal a day habit. I hate this stuff! I prefer my oxycodone and naproxen for the pain relief and I stopped taking the lyrica. I didn’t tell my doctor because he is hell bent on me being on it. I’m just like yup, I’m taking it. Stopping it sucked, I felt like killing everyone. This is not good stuff, at least for me. Oh, I’m only 35 and otherwise healthy except for this damn back of mine.

  28. Diane

    I started taking Lyrica almost 2 years ago for non-related diabetic neuropathy. I suffered from nerve pain after enduring numerous mini-strokes (nothing “mini” about them!) It worked on the pain wonderfully – side effect was 25 pound weight gain. I tried to wean myself off of it about 6 months ago and had the most horrible 2 days… I finally started taking it again because of the withdrawal effects. I haven’t given up – I’m going to try taking it every other day again and toughing out the grueling withdrawal.

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