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How Effective Is Pregabalin for Anxiety?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
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  • Last Modified Date: 23 November 2016
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Many health experts assert that pregabalin is effective for treating the symptoms of general anxiety disorder. The drug was not originally intended for this purpose, however, as it is most often used for treating seizures and sometimes chronic pain. Its use for anxiety is referred to as off-label, and some doctors prescribe it because it doesn’t typically cause severe side effects and isn’t associated with a lot of harmful interactions with other medications.

General anxiety disorder is marked by anxiety symptoms that do not go away within a short period of time. Instead, they linger and begin to interfere with the affected person's normal routine and even decrease his quality of life. Worry that doesn’t go away is one of the typical symptoms of this type of anxiety as is worry that turns into obsession. A person with this disorder may also feel overly tired, struggle with restlessness, and develop an upset stomach, difficultly concentrating, irritability, and trouble sleeping. These symptoms, as well as shortness of breath and anxiety-related sweating, can often be treated by using pregabalin for anxiety.

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The manner in which this drug works for anxiety isn’t fully clear to the medical community. Some studies, however, have compared it to placebos and found it more effective. The drug has also been compared to medications like alprazolam, which is frequently used in treating anxiety, and appears equally as effective. In fact, some studies have produced evidence that using pregabalin for anxiety results in faster anxiety symptom relief than a person might expect from alprazolam and some other commonly used drugs.

Safety is an another reason some doctors prescribe pregabalin for anxiety, as it doesn’t usually cause withdrawal symptoms, and most people can take it without experiencing serious side effects. This doesn’t mean that a person can always expect to take it without experiencing any unpleasant drug-related symptoms though. It can cause dizziness, and some people feel sleepy while taking it. Pregabalin can also cause a person to have trouble keeping his balance, concentrating, and remembering things. Additionally, the medication sometimes results in tremors and dry mouth symptoms.

Many people do take pregabalin for anxiety without even minor side effects. When they do develop, the most common minor effects include dizziness and excessive sleepiness. While not common, signs of an allergic reaction to this drug can be serious and warrant reporting to a doctor. Such signs can include hives and swelling of the throat and mouth. Some people may also experience breathing problems as an indication of an allergic reaction.

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anon951050
Post 8

I feel so depressed a lot of the time, and am very frightened to even go to a social event or be on my own for long. I have terrible negative thoughts and things from the past just jump into my head and upset me to an awful degree. I also feel guilty a lot of the time, have no motivation and feel the only relief I get is when I am asleep. I can’t even stay in the house to take care of my grandchild for a few hours.

I used to drink a few cans of beer every night and worked but my job ended and I stopped drinking. Could this also be causing my depression and anxiety

? I am on Lyrica and Cymbalta. I was crying a lot and full of anxiety and when I last spoke to my psychiatrist, was told I am not suffering with depression but have emotional personality disorder and although he said I could go off Cymbalta (when I suggested it) if I wanted to. Please can anybody help? Thank you. --So Sad
LisaLou
Post 7

@myharley-- You are sure right about people not understanding what you are experiencing. Even my close family members really didn't understand what I was trying to deal with. I can't say that I blame them because it took me a long time to understand what was happening.

My anxiety was to the point that I would get physically ill if I had to encounter a situation I didn't feel comfortable with. In order to avoid this, I never went anywhere. This makes it hard on your immediate family as they just think it is short term and will go away.

I am currently taking Pregablain, and have noticed good results with it. The longer I take it, the better I feel. It seemed to be a little slow doing anything at first as it was a very gradual change. Now I make sure and not skip any doses because I don't want to go back to feeling that way.

myharley
Post 6

@Mykol-- That is too bad you had that kind of reaction to the Pregabalin. For me, this has been a life saver. This is one of the first anti-anxiety medications I have taken that I didn't have any noticeable side effects with.

I finally feel like my old self again and think the Pregabalin has made the most difference. If someone has not struggled with anxiety issues like this, they have a hard time understanding what it feels like.

It is easy for them to tell you just to 'snap out of it', but there is much more to it than that. By finding a medication that helps with my symptoms without the negative side effects, I feel like I can enjoy the quality of life I want.

Mykol
Post 5

I know a lot of people have had good results taking Pregabalin, and I had high hopes when I started taking it for some mild anxiety issues.

This didn't end up working out very well for me. I began having side effects like dizziness and feeling like my brain was in a fog all the time. It was hard to know if it was the medication or if I was just having the symptoms of a panic attack.

I was really scared when I started having shortness of breath after about 3 weeks. It is hard to know what to do when you are taking something that is supposed to be helping your anxiety, yet you don't know

if it is the medication or not.

My doctor told me to quite taking it and started me on another medication. I have been able to tolerate this one OK, and have realized that not every medication is going to work for everyone. It is just a good thing there was more than one to choose from.

julies
Post 4

My sister has a lot of anxiety and has had quite a time trying to find a medication that works for her. It seems like one will work for awhile and then quits working. With many of these medications you really have to wean yourself off of them very slowly.

She also takes medications for some other health problems, and many times I wonder how all of these medications are interacting with each other.

I need to ask her if she has ever taken Pregabalin. There are a lot anti-anxiety medications available, and she may not have been prescribed this one yet. I like the fact that there are no withdrawal symptoms and that it doesn't interact with other medications.

For someone like my sister, this sounds like it would be a good combination as long as it helped her with her anxiety.

bear78
Post 3

@turkay1-- My brother has seen an improvement with his anxiety with pregabalin but he's taking it in combination with another drug called klonopin. So maybe pregabalin is more effective when combined with another anti-anxiety medication?

He does complain of side effects sometimes, mainly feeling sleepy or spaced out. But it has never been serious enough to make him stop taking it. And I think the side effects do diminish with time probably because the body takes some time to adapt.

It might be that pregabalin might just not be for you. But it might help to ask your doctor about it once again.

candyquilt
Post 2

@ankara-- Wow, great! I'm glad it's working for you. May I ask what dose you're taking?

I've tried taking pregabalin in the past, unfortunately it didn't work for me. My doctor had suggested taking 150mg of it per day but I couldn't even work up to that dose because of the side effects. I had intense headaches and dizziness with just 50mg and no improvement with my anxiety. I think it's only effective at higher doses, but not everyone can tolerate the side effects.

I wish pregabalin had worked for me. I could have benefited from it like you have because I also have arthritis related pains. Unfortunately, my body didn't tolerate it.

bluedolphin
Post 1

I've found pregabalin very effective for anxiety. I'm actually surprised because I wasn't expecting it to work so well.

My doctor was prescribing it for me for pain initially. I've been diagnosed with a herniated disc in my lower back and have been having chronic pain because of it. My doctor was looking through my file and saw that I also have GAD and said that pregabalin will help with that too.

I didn't think too much about it but after two weeks of using it, I've been noticing that I haven't had anxiety at all this week. I'm not on any other anti-anxiety medication so it has to be the pregabalin. I'm killing two birds with one stone!

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