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What Is Pregabalin?

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  • Written By: Christina Whyte
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 03 July 2014
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Pregabalin is an anticonvulsant medication which is used to treat seizures, fibromyalgia, and pain caused by nerve damage, known as neuropathic pain, such as that which may occur in diabetes. Though it can be very helpful for these conditions, there are a number of potential side effects, drug interactions, and precautions that are needed while taking this medication. Patients who have been prescribed this anticonvulsant need to be medically monitored.

There are a number of possible side effects that one might experience while taking pregabalin. Most commonly, people may experience dizziness, sleepiness, difficulty concentrating, and dry mouth and itching. Vision problems, swelling, shortness of breath, or muscle pain combined with fever may indicate a more serious reaction, and patients experiencing these symptoms should seek medical attention. Patients should always contact the prescribing doctor if any symptoms are severe or do not pass after a short time.

One of the most concerning side effects of pregabalin is its potential to affect the user's mental health. People taking this medication have reported developing suicidal or self-harming thoughts, and so everyone who is taking it should have regular medical checkups and report all mood symptoms to the doctor. Family members and caregivers of patients who take anti-epileptic medication need to know about this risk so that they can monitor the patient's behavior and seek medical attention for him if necessary. The risk of suicide must be weighed against the risk of not taking this medication.

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It is not yet known what effect pregabalin may have on an unborn or nursing baby. Pregnant or nursing women should consult with their doctors about taking this medication. There is also a possibility that fathering a child while taking this medication may cause birth defects.

Stopping pregabalin suddenly can cause withdrawal symptoms, including headache, nausea, and increased seizures. Patients should never discontinue this medication without the supervision of a physician, even if they feel fine and have no symptoms. This medication may become habit-forming, and so patients should never take it in larger doses or more frequently than prescribed.

Pregabalin interacts with many other medications, such as antidepressants and sedatives, as well as alcohol. The prescribing doctor needs to know about all other medications that a patient is taking, including vitamins and supplements. It is important that any medical professional who treats a patient taking pregabalin knows that he or she is taking it. Patients should wear or carry a medical alert indicating usage of anticonvulsant medication.

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