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Case Raises New Concern Over Withdrawal of Drugs: Lyrica (Pregabalin)

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In recent years, many anticonvulsant drugs have been widely prescribed not only for seizure disorders, but for various kinds of chronic pain and for several different psychiatric illnesses, even though few have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for those purposes.

Now researchers are reporting a case of brain swelling, or cerebral edema, after abrupt withdrawal from pregabalin (Lyrica), a new antiepileptic drug that will be available this fall. The report appears online and in the August issue of Annals of Neurology.

The patient, an 80-year-old woman, was in a clinical trial testing the drug for the severe pain of shingles, or postherpetic neuralgia. About a day after abruptly discontinuing it, she suffered nausea, headache and loss of balance, which progressed to delirium and hallucinations a week later. An M.R.I. scan revealed swelling in the same part of the brain that is affected in some epileptic patients who suddenly stop their drugs.

Dr. Anne Louise Oaklander, the lead author on the paper, acknowledged that a single case did not constitute proof. “Maybe it’s completely coincidental that she had M.R.I. abnormalities and a neurological illness, and that she’d recently stopped the drug,” she said. “But the more likely explanation is that these things are linked.”

Dr. Michael Berelowitz, a vice president of Pfizer, the manufacturer of pregabalin, said this case illustrated that “when you stop a medication, you should stop it under physician guidance and according to the instructions.”

“We’ve studied close to 9,000 patients in 53 studies,” he continued, “and it’s out of this that we develop the indications and the labeling we’re seeking.”

Pregabalin has been approved for the adjunctive treatment of epilepsy, and for the nerve pain caused by diabetes and shingles.

Not all experts agree that withdrawal from these drugs is a significant problem that warrants a special warning. Dr. Eric Hollander, director of clinical psychopharmacology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, said that pregabalin, although not approved for the purpose, had had good results in treating anxiety.

“I don’t think you need to warn patients about withdrawal,” he said, “but only suggest that in general for all medications, tapering is better than abruptly stopping.”

Pregabalin is chemically close to the anticonvulsant Neurontin, also made by Pfizer and approved for both nerve pain and epilepsy. Neurontin is widely used for other kinds of chronic pain, as well as for bipolar illness, anxiety, insomnia, social phobia, panic disorder, cocaine craving and alcohol withdrawal, though not specifically approved for them.

It is legal and ethical for doctors to prescribe drugs in any way they believe will help patients, but drug companies cannot promote products for those symptoms.

Among the anticonvulsants used in psychiatric illnesses, only Depakote and Lamictal are approved for psychiatric disorders. Some anticonvulsants, Tegretol for example, are approved for chronic pain, but others, like Dilantin, are prescribed for pain without F.D.A. approval. While it is well known that sudden withdrawal from the drugs can cause seizures in epilepsy patients, there is little information about withdrawal in people not suffering from seizures.

Dr. Oaklander, an assistant professor of anesthesiology and neurology at Harvard, said that at first everyone thought her patient had the flu, until the severe neurological symptoms set in and brain imaging confirmed a serious problem.

“I haven’t heard of any other similar cases of clinical illness caused by sudden discontinuance of these meds, but it’s possible that other cases have gone unrecognized and now we’ll start to hear about them,” she said.

People with the edema of high altitude sickness have similar symptoms and M.R.I. abnormalities, and Dr. Oaklander believes this suggests a treatment. Steroids or acetazolamide, a drug that reduces water retention, are highly effective in altitude sickness. “It’s wonderful when you can describe a new clinical syndrome, and immediately offer a potential treatment to try,” she said.

Source and copyright: The New York Times (online July 19, 2005)

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29 thoughts on “Case Raises New Concern Over Withdrawal of Drugs: Lyrica (Pregabalin)”

  1. cspace says:

    I took Lyrica 300mg twice a day for 5 months. I was taking this medication for fibromyalgia pain, Ulnar Nerve pain because of Entrapment and a failed attempt to relocation of the nerve properly, Dystonia,
    Carpal tunnel syndrome and Peripheral neuropathy.

    I had to stop taking this drug because of the side effects. The mildest side effect was weight gain 30 pounds in the 5 month period.

    But that was nothing compared to the fact I continued to have the nerve pain I was already experiencing but I also began to have deep muscle pain and overwhelming weakness if I tried to walk.

    Bur the worst side effect was the severe and horrible memory loss. It got to the point I was a zombie and could not carry a conversation.

    I could not remember what anyone else said. I could not figure out what to say or remember what I had said.

    My husband, daughter and I were having dinner when it got so bad he thought I had had a stroke.

    I set there and saw the fear in his eyes and I could not respond to him.

    I stopped the Lyrica that night it took about a week or more to get the drug out of my system and to start returning to some form of normal.

    I do not know about brain swelling due to withdrawal. But it can have a serious effect on cognitive function while taking a dose that is needed for fibromyalgia and nerve pain for a 46 year old female.

    1. oddbird says:

      Well, the side effects when you’re on Lyrica are nothing compared to coming off it. I stepped up until I was at 150mg 2xday. I went through the dizziness and vertigo, the sleepiness, the weird vision changes (I almost got new lenses, it was so bad at one point, but held off) – Finally now I am trying to get off this stuff. I think, for all that, it does very little for me. Oh, it helped some at first, but only as long as the side effects lasted. Once they stop (when you get used to the dosage) you have to increase to get results again, and go through the weirdness (during which you sorta feel better) and then eventually the side effects stop and so does the efficacy.

      Anyhow, that’s not the worst. The worst is when I tried to stop – I tapered off, but the end of last week I finished out and was off it…. for 3 days. Today I had to take it again. It was pure hell.

      I found these symptoms mentioned for Paxil withdrawal on another site, but this subset describes my last weekend. If I had realized what caused it, I think I would have taken a pill again sooner – but I had to really dig on the internet to find that others had LYRICA WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS like these, and that was clearly what caused this episode. I took a pill at noon, it’s 5:30 now and I feel better. This is a hateful drug, and I wouldn’t be surprised at what an MRI would have shown of me. But is information that people who never even had seizures before taking this drug, may have them on withdrawal (by the way, besides Lyrica and Paxil, other drugs that have given me panic attacks on withdrawal include Cymbalta and Mirapex – heads-up!)

      – sustained anxiety attack (3 days, until I took the pill again and now it’s relaxing off)
      – intense insomnia
      – extraordinarily vivid dreams (nightmares that seem to continue after getting up)
      – intense fear of losing your sanity
      – severe mood swings, esp.heightened irritability / anger.
      – heart palpitations/ chest pain
      – lump in throat (obsessive swallowing and sensation of difficulty)
      – grinding of teeth, locked feeling in jaw
      – difficulty breathing, or sensation that I cannot get a breath

      – an unconventional dizziness/vertigo
      – headaches
      – profuse sweating, esp. at night
      – muscle cramps
      – breaking out in tears.

      – hypersensitivity to motion, sounds, smells. (try being hot, but unable to tolerate even a fan running!)
      – decreased appetite, nausea
      – abdominal cramping, diarrhea
      – chills/ hot flashes
      – trembling
      – tingling, itchy feelings all over – heightened sensitivity to touch

      Just say no.

    2. rs2 says:

      I have stopped taking lyrica for over a week now and am still experiencing withdrawl. How long did your symptoms last? I am completely floored to learn about all of these problems and am highly upset with myself for not learning sooner.

      I took lyrica for 6 months to help with nerve pain. I didn’t seem to get a lot of relief but did experience side effects. I had the typical anxiousness, lightheadedness, weight gain and gas. I also have had problems with bladder control but never linked the problem to a side effect. I had three UTI’s in 6 months and thought something was going on. Upon further investigation I saw that bladder control is a side effect. I never even mentioned it to my doctor.

      My first week off of lyrica I have experienced withdrawl symptoms such as insomnia, nausea, headaches and dirrea. I am also still having bladder control issues. Did you have any problems with that? I’m on day ten and can’t get any further information from my doctor other than it would be a rare side effect. I would appreciate any advise that you can give me.

    3. wrong1suzi says:

      Thank you for posting your comments. I’m so moved that I finally found someone who is experiencing the same things from the withdrawals as I. I’ve been taking Ambien just to get through the nights. I had been taking the Lyrica for about 2 and 1/2 years and at first it seemed to help and the Dr. just kept increasing it every 3 to 6 months. I was taking 250 mg daily, just increased from 200 the month before and starting feeling so over medicated and just sick from the meds.. So, I quit taking Lyrica and cut my Cymbalta in half on 8/15/08.

      The first week was OK but I was still taking Cymbalta so I quit taking the Cymbalta. The second week, pain, especially in my legs were unbareable. The third week symptoms are like yours but I haven’t felt the anxiety and now i’m into my fourth week with no relief. I also had a terrible metal taste in my mouth and now it seems like numbness around my mouth and my tongue. My feet and hands are so cold but, if I put heat on them it turns to burning pain. My Dr. said it was my kidneys but all tests were negative. Said I had a mild urniary tract infection. I took three days of, Levaquin and my symptoms remain.

      – nauseau
      – faitgue
      – freezing feet and hands
      – dizziness/vertigo
      – diarrhea
      – abdominal cramping
      – hypersensitivity to motion, sounds, smells, and lights
      – Cold air is painful even if I’m hot
      – tingling, itchy feelings all over – heightened sensitivity to touch
      – insomnia
      – chills/ hot flashes
      – trembling
      – mood swings, esp.heightened irritability / anger.
      – heart palpitations/ chest pain
      – lump in throat (obsessive swallowing)
      – grinding of teeth, locked feeling in jaw
      – difficulty breathing, or sensation that I cannot get a breath

    4. Kindbudz says:

      I have been taking this for nerve pain for about 5 months. 300mg x2 a day. In between getting a refill I had to go 3 days without the medication and I felt HORRIBLE beginning the second day off it. I had NO idea that this drug caused withdrawal, and was NOT informed or admonished by my doctor of it’s potential to harm. The side effects went away, and were mild for me in that I’m used to feeling odd like that. BUT, the withdrawal is just menacing. I’m freezing out of a blanket and sweat continuously under one. I can’t sleep, but when I do I have crazy dreams and nightmares. On the third day I experienced intense headaches, even on the bridge of my nose! I’m FURIOUS with my doctor for not warning me, and am wanting to taper off it but know that the withdrawal can last for ages, even when done slowly. Damn this medication… this will be the next drug that lawyers make commercials advertising lawsuits available to people harmed by Lyrica. You can count on that. I’m sorry for anyone that has to experience the pain from this medicine.

    5. -Caramia1 says:

      I was taking Lyrica for body aches and stopped because I wanted a more holistic way of doing things. I never experience such panics attacks in my life after stopping Lyrica. I sopped for several weeks now and my body aches are controlled, but I am in such bad mental shape. Not worth trying this ever 🙁

      A few weeks ago I almost ended up in a psychiatric ward. Thank God a nurse started to pray and spoke to me about so many positive things. This is no joke.

    6. -Caramia1 says:

      I was taking Lyrica for body aches and stopped because I wanted a more holistic way of doing things. I never experience such panics attacks in my life after stopping Lyrica. I sopped for several weeks now and my body aches are controlled, but I am in such bad mental shape. Not worth trying this ever 🙁

      A few weeks ago I almost ended up in a psychiatric ward. Thank God a nurse started to pray and spoke to me about so many positive things. This is no joke.

    7. pawlove7 says:

      As an RN who is ashamed to admit that I did no studying of Lyrica when offered it over 10 years ago I am horrified at the stories I am reading here! I pray that all of the people who posted such nightmare experiences have made it out of the terrors suffered because of this terrible drug. With a complicated pain problem from things that went wrong with extensive back surgeries I was put on high dose pain meds for over 15 years. When offered Lyrica I was willing to give it a try. I never thought I had nerve pain but for some reason that was never really pursued.
      Thankfully I was never on extreme doses like so many people here- started on 50 mg 2x day, max amount I took a couple of years ago was 50 mg 4x day and for the last couple of years back to 50 mg 3x day. I have always had a hyper metabolism for medications and it was fear of what the pain underneath the boat load of drugs I was on kept me swallowing pills. I thought I had no issues from the Lyrica for the 10 or more years I was on it- no weight gain or other obvious problems.
      This past summer I was facing another surgery, the first since being on all the pain clinic meds. A series of events caused me to face facts- I did not want to go into surgery on huge doses of narcotics, knew deep down that being on the same dose of multiple drugs for years could possibly be doing a thing for me and without really looking it up and without medical help went through withdrawal shortly before and for nearly 3 weeks weeks after my surgery. The normal post op pain meds got me thru the hospitalization. For a few months before surgery I had had huge swings in my BP. I had never needed BP med, always having a BP in the 110/70 range. It started swinging from 95/60 to 170/117. When I detoxed off the narcotics I started having severe migraines when I took the prescribed narcotics after surgery so I took as little as possible. By the way, there was not one change in my pain level when I got totally off all these drugs!
      I had wanted to get off Lyrica as well as the narcotics but since I never connected the Lyrica with problems I had decided to deal with that later.
      Four weeks after my surgery I did my final huge withdrawal from the narcotics. The next 3 weeks were horrific. Flu symptoms, my body felt on fire, I would lie under the fan and then feel like my bones were freezing. The migraines were bad. Shortness of breath. I suddenly couldn’t sleep without ambien. My medical dr. said I so needed sleep during this time that he told me to take it every night.
      Off the narcotics but having back problems and knowing another surgery is ahead I was thinking about the Lyrica and getting off it. Every afternoon and evening I would feel terribly restless and would never have fallen asleep without the ambien. I started waking with double vision. I would have to close one eye to watch TV. If able to walk outside with our 3 dogs there would be 6 dogs in my vision! This may not have been the Lyrica but it has stopped since I am off. I have had memory issues for years and did “blame” that on the Lyrica but feared it might not be… can’t wait to see if that gets better.
      A few weeks ago, before starting to wean off the Lyrica I was lying down on my computer and suddenly felt almost like I was fainting and my heart rate doubled. I’ve never had heart issues and waited a bit. Because of the bedrest I had been on for weeks my fear was a blood clot. My heart rate was 125-128. Not wanting my husband to find me dead I called him. After an hour we drove to the ER, another 30 minutes away. They did an EKG- heart rate 128 but not cardiac. I almost went home but the blood clot issue was still not cleared so we waited. As my back pain climbed as we sat I felt my heart rate slowly decline. By the time I got to the back, 3 1/2 hours after the sudden increase had started, it was in the 90s. The ER did a full work up and everything was fine. Lyrica never occurred to me.
      About 2 weeks ago when I decided I was ready to wean off I decided to do this more carefully than the narcotics and did a search. My insomnia is on the Lyrica official list of possible side effects. Also the restlessness. But without sites like this one, where people take the time to tell their stories I would never have known about most of the horrible things this drug can cause.
      I dropped to 50 mg 2x day for 5 days, planning to wait a week but just wanted off. I did the 50 mg 1x day for 5 more days and the first day I was on zero I actually fell asleep on my own! The double vision has cleared and the restlessness is gone. Having to stay in bed so much while I wait for surgery the restlessness was one of the worse things. I would watch the clock for it to be late enough for the ambien and blessed sleep. I can’t imagine what so many have suffered in their stories.
      I did have the pins and needles across my chest and loss of appetite while weaning off Lyrica. But even after over a decade of daily use I feel so blessed to have been spared so much that others had to deal with. I would rather have physical pain over emotional pain any day. I have had an episode of depression years ago and another season of panic attacks but had none of that. I drink a lot of water, take fish oil, MVI, calcium, turmeric, milk thistle, D3 and a supplement that was supposed to help with the opioid withdrawal called Calm Support. I had plenty left over since I got it kind of late into the opiod withdrawal and took it for the Lyrica weaning as well. Whether any of that helps I don’t know. All I know is I feel 100% better just a few days off the Lyrica. I feel that the narcotics were masking some of the symptoms I experienced and they became obvious after I was no longer in the pain clinic and taking them. Drug companies influence doctors in a huge way and I have watched dr’s eyes glaze over when I mention some natural treatment that has helped me. I will add… one of my doctors has some bad back issues and when we were talking about what I took she said she was afraid to try Lyrica. You would think that and the fact that a friend ended up in a mental hospital and was sure it was the Lyrica she had been on for a few months that I might have had my lightbulb moment sooner. The friend had bizarre symptoms including feeling like she was outside herself, couldn’t move her arms… whew! Never again. I was a late learner. Wishing everyone the best of luck with getting off and staying off Lyrica. God bless.

    8. pawlove7 says:

      Dear me, I just never learn!! I posted la few days ago and need to update that for anyone thinking they should find this easy. After over 10 years on Lyrica 50mg 3-4 x’s a day I thought I had it made when I felt the restlessness dissolve when I dropped the last pills after 4 days. I had been on 50mg 3x day for the last couple of years and went to 2 x day for 5 days and then the 4 days and getting impatient I quit. The 2nd night I had had to take pain med that day because of a doctor’s visit out of town and it always gives me a horrible migraine. I had that all night plus I had cut my ambien in half, which had been doing well since I was dropping the Lyrica and I took 1/2 4 x’s that night and never slept more than 30 minutes. I was miserable. My original pain (back) is never completely gone but I am certain it was never nerve pain.
      After a miserable night last night with a whole ambien repeated 2 hours later I could tell I was not going to sleep at all and felt like pins and needles were all over the trunk of my body. I finally took one Lyrica 50 mg at 1:30 AM and slept for 6 hours. Vowing to start over (waking with a migraine again – no pain med this time) I put a Lyrica in my boxes at night( 50 mg pill) for this week and next. I messaged my Dr and asked if he will please prescribe me 25mg pills for 30 days. I am not happy to have given in after 3 days and taken another Lyrica.but I guess my body is resisting to the max. I did see someone talking about this on another site say she was going to dissolve her pill in warm water and cut down by dividing that. I am hoping I don’t have too much trouble after 25 mg for a while. Also I plan to investigate ordering some L-theanine that someone said helped her. I drank detox tea this afternoon, am trying to drink plenty of fluids and make myself eat. I went thru a hell of a detox off narcotic meds a few months ago and thought this would be a piece of cake compared to that. So far only the insomnia is worse. My jaws and gums hurt so bad (not dental) and last night my pelvis bones ached! Good luck to everyone!

    9. shaggyssr says:

      Well where do I begin I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and started taking 300mg twice daily and through the course of a year taking this medicine i have become very depressed, angry, social anxiety, ATTEMPTED SUICIDE, not to mention the blurred vision, dizziness, and it ruined my 8 year marriage due to the side effects. Please read into the medicine before you take it, and talk to your doctor first

    10. conray1969 says:

      I am about to experience withdraw symptoms from Lyrica.
      My health insurance does not want to cover it.
      Go figure. Corporate America strikes again…

      Someone deciding our medical future and needs who are NOT doctors should NOT be toying with us. My wife will have to deal with this. I how she can handle me. Hope I don’t frak out too much. I have had headaches and nasty dreams that just go on all night and not to mention sweating all the time. If there’s a Lyrica lawsuit I am IN!!

    11. katiekatekate says:

      I titrated off Lyrica over 6 weeks. Still, once I stopped completely, I experienced what I’ve read is associated with benzo withdrawal. My brain told me I should kill myself. I had horrible nightmares where I was in hell, and it is a place of mental torment eternal. I would have such feelings of angst, I could hardly endure. My mom came to stay with me for a week I was so sick. I’m 40, and my mom had to move into my home for a week. It was HELL. Nobody told me this would happen. I sweated and shook and froze and cried and my moods went from zombie to so so so low my daughter could feel the energy. This is a horrible drug to get off. Three weeks post, and I’m still suffering but not like during the beginning. I’m still glad I went off it, because I at least now know people’s names and can walk straight. Lyrica AND Neurontin are awful drugs, and nobody tells you.

    12. lyrica says:

      My wife also just finished weaning off 150mg night, 75 morning after about 12 months on it. Absolute hell. Insomnia, nausea ….. it is horrid. Kate, it’s been two weeks since your post …. any progress? My wife is still in hell and is hoping for light at the end of this tunnel.

    13. cdf11203 says:

      I’m currently finishing 2nd week weaning off Lyrica. I started weaning by taking every other night instead of nightly (75 mg). In a couple of days, I’ll go from 75 mg every other day to every 3rd day. I’m experiencing MANY of these same symptoms, but am GRATEFUL for some natural help to balance things out. I’m taking Guna “mood”, Guna “addict 1” and GABA Dietary Supplement. The Guna products are drops I put in my water throughout the day. GABA I generally take 750 – 3/day. I also take a specific liquid magnesium, adrenal support, Methyl Protect B Vitamin and vitamin D3. Lyrica is the 3rd med I’ve weaned off in 4-5 months. Cymbalta is another. Lyrica’s been the worst, as expected.

    14. cdf11203 says:

      I’m currently finishing 2nd week weaning off Lyrica. I started weaning by taking every other night instead of nightly (75 mg). In a couple of days, I’ll go from 75 mg every other day to every 3rd day. I’m experiencing MANY of these same symptoms, but am GRATEFUL for some natural help to balance things out. I’m taking Guna “mood”, Guna “addict 1” and GABA Dietary Supplement. The Guna products are drops I put in my water throughout the day. GABA I generally take 750 – 3/day. I also take a specific liquid magnesium, adrenal support, Methyl Protect B Vitamin and vitamin D3. Lyrica is the 3rd med I’ve weaned off in 4-5 months. Cymbalta is another. Lyrica’s been the worst, as expected.

    15. grampam says:

      I have been taking 450 mil. of lyrica for about a year. Started with 159 a day, then gradually increased the dosage as the doctor thinks this is a wonder drug. i took it for fibromyalgia. Well, after a year i couldn’t see where it was doing anything, so I stopped one of the pills. I immediately began to have hotflashes and felt like my pelvis was crawling. I never once thought about it being due to the meds. when I went to dr. he said i had a slight bladder ingection which I have never had one, I;m 59. I took cipro for it but my symptoms continued to worsen. I had a pelvic exam and pap. all came back normal. I had discussed with the dr. about stopping lyrica since i didn’t feel it was helpful. He said take one pill for a week then stop. said there wouldn’t be any withdrawal and I believed him. Well, I continued with 2 pills a day for about 3 weeks as I had just gotten a refill. had blood work which came back normal. Finally went to one pill a day, then stopped as I was deathly ill. This was 3 weeks ago since I stopped. i was better last week, then all hell broke loose again this weekend! Sweats chills just miserable. No appetite and makes me sick to eat. also can’t stand to small anything. I don’t understand why I felt better for a few days, though. I would never do this again. i have never been so sick in all my life!!

    16. diecasts4daddy2 says:

      Twice I was taken to Hospital ER unconscious. The Drs. knew meds. I was on but stop them immediately. Paxil 20mg & Lyrica 75mg for past 6yrs. Fibromyalia,Chronic Fatigue. My regular Doctor did not have priviledges at that facility & was never called.
      The first time I had hallucinations for 5 days & was tied down to the bed for 5 days. I asked to never have my meds. stopped like that again. Not knowing that it was medication withdrawel.
      Three years later same thing,The Drs. did exactly the same thing. Except this time I was Hospitalized for 3 weeks. The 1st week I don’t even remember & any part of being in the hospital.
      The following 2 weeks I was in a Geriatric Psych. Ward.Complete breakdown.
      It clearly states in the PDR and Lyrica drug information not to stop taking this drug ABRUPTLY!!!! They should tell the hospital Drs.I know that Lyrica is a widely used drug now and I it pains me to think that someone else might have to go thru what I did.
      The formal diagnosis was early onset dementia ( I was 74yrs.)
      The Psychiatrist I went to afterward said it was caused by the
      stoppage of the drugs in that manner. That was nearly a year ago and have no signs of dementia or senility.
      I AM NOW on another antideppressent drug, & suffer from PTSD do
      to that harrowing experience.
      to wean off as soon as possible.
      I would rather deal with the pain from Fibro,etc. than ever be
      free of the pain by using Lyrica.
      I had no bad side effects from being on Lyrica accept gaining a few pounds.
      But I cannot afford to have a Doctor stop my Meds. again in that way.

    17. Enough_Already says:

      did the muscle weakness correct itself once you were off the lyrica? My husband is having severe leg weakness to the point he can hardly walk and can barely stand long enough to wash his hands. He has been on 75 mg bid for 3 1/2 weeks. He is now coming off it. I am wondering if he will feel stronger once he is off??

  2. MotherofTwins says:

    I would just like to tell my experience with the drug Lyrica that is being prescribed for Fibromyalgia patients. I was started on 225mg twice daily and with my first dose started feeling weird. Then with the second dose I was running into walls and falling over furniture in my own house. If it does work for the pain the side affects are so bad that a person can not stay on it for long and have any type of life. I can not remember my name some days and going out in public makes me a nervous wreck. I have now been put down to only 75mg twice daily to see if this will make any difference in the side affects. I am suppose to take the new dose for 3 months before I return to the Doctor for a review of my condition. I don’t know if I will be able to continue to take this medication for the whole 3 months. I am almost afraid to continue it.

    1. wifeandmomof3 says:

      I started lyrica in December starting dose 25mg twice a day. I steadly increased it until I was on 100mg three times a day. I was taking for a trigeminal nerve injury. I had surgery end of January. My neurosurgeon had me stop it on Monday. Lyrica seemed to work for me as long as I continued to increase dose. When first starting a new dose I was a zombie, but would get used to it. I took one dose Monday. On Tuesday I was nauseated, no appetite, couldnt think straight. I just thought I had a stomach bug. Every day I’ve gotten worse. I have headaches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, extreme panic attacks, and extreme irritability. I feel like I’m losing my mind. Since reading alot of the boards on the internet I feel better. Just knowing I’m not crazy. I probably shouldn’t have stopped cold turkey, but my doctor told me to. I’m not going to start back on it; I think I am through the worse of it. I am lucky to work where I have access to MRI so on Monday I will have one to check brain.

  3. donaldpaul says:

    I found your insight to the symptoms of withdrawl of lyrica to be very helpful. I thought I was going crazy. I have all the symptoms you have explained. I’m also wondering how long it took you to get better esp. the cold sweats and profuse sweating at night to subside??


  4. oddbird says:

    Let’s see… I wrote my original post in June? Well, it was November (Thanksgiving) when I finally took my last pill.

    I got the lowest dosage possible and the Dr said to take several per day to match my old dosage. Then I reduced and reduced, very gradually. Eventually, I had it down to one a day – but each step down was a little more of the same (though not as intense). The final stop was more terrifying than anything. Having had that episode, I couldn’t stop – mentally, didn’t want to stop. Since it had taken 3 days to get hit with the WD symptoms the first time, I went to “every other day” with that one little pill, did that for some time. Then every two days. Finally, I took it every third day, but was afraid to take the next step. It’s absurd to describe how frightened I was to go 4 days, but I finally took that step, leaving several pills in the bottle JUST IN CASE the symptoms hit me on day 3 or 4. It worked, and I’m off them. Dr. is very surprised to hear all this from me, she says nobody else has complained of it. Pharmacist thought it didn’t last that long in the body. I’m not sure then why it would do all that, but since I had much lighter versions of that every time I went down a dosage (just for a few days, but since I was still taking it I guess my body adjusted), and taking the pills stops it entirely, I still pin it on that drug.

    I think I was probably a big chicken about how long I drew out the tapering – I just couldn’t have some episode and not be able to work, losing money. Also, the memory of that weekend of horror doesn’t go away, so it kept me taking them.

    How much do you want to bet that the drug company likes that part, hmmm?

  5. faithinme says:

    I was tapering off Lyrica from 100mg twice a day, but was still on 50mg twice daily. I woke up Monday into an instant drenching sweat that lasted 65 hours. It is a very cold winter here in Chicago but I HAD to have the air conditioner on full blast for the full 65 hours. I had to mop myself with a freezing cold wet washcloth also.
    My eyes were rolling constantly without a break for 50 hours straight! I was forced to keep my eyes closed. I could not sit up or stand since the reeling dizziness was overwhelming. I had a little bit of uncontrolled urination for two days. I had a lump in my throat. I couldn’t eat. I threw up and had severe diarrhea for 48 hours.
    I had severe muscle weakness and pain in every fibromyalgia point at once. Really I thought I might die. On the third day I was through the worst of it. I thought THIS must be what it’s like to cold turkey like a heroin addict. This is day four and I have severe diarrhea and am very hesitant to eat. I am slightly nauseous after any food. My muscles are in so much pain! I wanted to give up any pain medication after this…. but the pain was so intense I failed and broke down to take two Advil so I could type this to you.
    I am praying for all of us who take on this vicious drug and go through it’s withdrawal. Someone asked WHY go off of Lyrica if it helps you with your pain? Well I had gone from 151 pounds to 200 in less than six months after starting Lyrica. I thought I need to lose weight to give more relief to my joints and muscles but Lyrica was preventing that. I will never go back on Lyrica!
    Good luck to you.

  6. medssuk says:

    I started taking lyrica 50mg 4x daily until I was up to 225mg 3x daily. due to circumstance was out of my meds for a few days. First day was okay but second was when everything started to get bad. Started having mild panic attacks, no one could touch me, skin was crawling, nausea, headaches, couldn’t eat or drink, no sleep. panic attacks were so bad i had to go to the hospital. i did not eat, drink or sleep for two days so i was extremely exhausted. was given ativan at e.r. to stop panic attack but instead had hallucinations. next day i finaly got to fill the script for lyrica from the e.r. but was only for 75mg. feel better but chest still hurts and my husband has had to stay right by my side because of anxiety. bad withdrawal. don’t want to have to take this drug but my problems are much worse without meds. i hope the docs figure out what’s wrong with me soon so they can get me on the right meds because my life has been hell for 10 years now. medicaid docs to care about finding out what’s wrong with their patients so i keep praying to God to get me and my family through this.

  7. scwheeler24 says:

    Thanks oddbird for your post. I haven’t been taking a very high dose, but decided to try and come off the meds. I have seen numerous symptoms that oddbird described, having no idea. Woke myself up from scratching my chest so hard. The grinding and clenching. I have a major scratch and pain to my nose…think I injured it during the night. The next day, I hurt everywhere, even my jaw. so I took another one. I am currently on 1 a day, but as soon as I miss a night, I am in pain the next day. Had no idea these were caused by withdrawals of this med. Last night I was woke up by a bad cramp in my calf…haven’t had that since I was pregnant(15 years, I just don’t get them). I constantly want to clench my teeth. I am determined to get off this horrid stuff. I have taken Lyrica for about a year for chronic daily headaches, but after a complete summer of horrid migraines, I figured this wasn’t helping. Right now, I am a little nausetated. So glad I found this sight, thank you all for the info you have shared. I do hope it doesn’t take too long to get to “normal”. And thanks for the heads up for Cymbalta…my doc wanted to try me on that, and have samples for it, but can’t take Relpax at all. Now how does that work when you have migraines, duh. I took one 30mg pill, and had such vertigo, I dared take no more. They all seem to work for awhile then quit. I have been on Amytriptalin, nortriptilin, and others. They all work temperarily, but nothing has been this hard coming off a med as this one has.
    Thanks again

  8. tiajordan says:

    Yes, I have lived through the side effects of Lyrica (and cymbalta, and plenty more, all counter-acting as well). And YES, The withdrawal from this drug is as bad or worse than the central nervous system problems it causes in the first place.

    BUT I DID use to call it my miracle drug. Now, all I want is to finally be over detoxing from it. I would prefer the pain to the seizures, extremely low blood pressure, constant tremors, complete loss of joy in everyday things, and all the rest.

    Good luck to you!

  9. Lyricaf says:

    I been on lyrica for 18 months gradually upping dose, for nerve pain, the side effects were problems with swallowing, memory lose, feeling strange, perspiring, hot flushes, weight gain, pain in feet, had X-ray. Water retention, noise intolerance, pain in head and eye,
    The trigermenial neuralgia I was diagnosed, I came off lyrica, 1 stone loss in 1 week, gut problems, sweating, nightmares, head feeling funny but mainly feeling of suicidal thoughts, crying, feeling depressed, I came to realise it was the withdrawel off lyrica, I am persevering but feel like hell. I know I done right thing, doctors r useless. Marion

  10. Iamacastaway says:

    I am on my own! I had my gallbladder removed in the Sept then 12 days later—- My nightmare began almost 3 years ago with waking up with BP (Bells Palsy and Ramsey Hunt) A few months later I started experiencing facial pain and was told it was being caused by the nerves reginerating and muscles/weakness. The pain initially in my effected side eyebrow got worse. My GP then put me on Tylenol 3’s–dosage kept having to be increased. I started to experience burning in my stomach which I repeatedly said was due to the Tylenol. Gp suggested I was now experiencing GERD as my stress/anxiety was increasing as I ‘was worried about making a recovery from the face parallysis since I was improving at a snails pace compared to what is ‘normal’. She then would switch to Tylenol 1’s, 2’s or 3’s and added Lorazapam to calm me down. I went from walking 5 miles a day, eating tons of every vegetable, fruit and in general anything from the most spicey to whatever I fancied to where I am now…basically white bread and potatoe, no spice, no grease, no fruit, and chicken and fish tolerated on a good day but that’s it!!! Now labelled IBS, as at first they said Gluten or Lactose Intollerant so did the IBS Diet and Paid $200 for the special test just so they would believe me when I said I AM NOT Gluten or Lactose Intollerant; yet no help with or caring about my Nutrition intake. Sent to a neurologist who said I was done healing facial appearance at 7 months so left so depressed. Told GP I wanted a 2nd opinion as was now getting electrical shocks in Temple area and sometimes above on OPPOSITE side of BP??? He could not understand this so after weeks of seeing him I agreed to try Lyrica JUST until he got me sorted out. He tried 75mg to start but couldn’t tolerate, so began 25mg at bedtime. Immediate dizzy/vertigo, started to be afraid of attempting to drive, noise bothered me, still felt some pains but seemed less frequent. Then told I may have TMJ so yet more doctor visits and tests. Over the course of 1 1/2 yrs of developing more and more complications and increases of dosage I was up to 150mg daily which I could barely handle in a split dose. Neuro kept saying I was on a ‘Baby Dose’ when I kept trying to say this drug was adversely. Since starting this Hell in Pill Form I have had every test going, several MRI’s head and neck, blood work, Nerve testing to see if Brain to body connection ok. All tests were NEGATIVE! Then he hit on the idea it is Occipital Nerve damaged?? WTH!!!! Ever visit was him trying to increase and me saying No I can’t handle it! I am emotional all the time, afraid to be alone, I hurt every where and have had so many random debilitating pains that last and go and come….Swelling in Elbow—-xray fine, feet swelling–told to exercise meanwhile I feel totally crippled with Arthritis, irregular heart beats sometimes yet an Echocardiogram showed I am fine!!!! I now feel when I end up in ER they have a RED Checkmark labelling me as a Hypochondriac. Neurologist now sent me to another who does needle injection and she feels ‘Lyrica Dr’s assessment may be wrong and may be a Neck Issue! I noticed about 2 months ago I felt much worse after taking my dose. Doctor said never heard of that and said my other pains (now being given a title of Fibromyalgia). This GP wanted me on Dilaudid to help the pain since I said I had no Life. This finally was the last straw for me and decided I’m getting off this Merry go round! I’ve been reduced to Tears, Anger all the Time, forgetfull, no joy, bitter, forgot train of thought mid-sentence, names, people, memories both short term and some long term, could not concentrate on my Hobby of Scrapbooking so haven’t touched in over a year; at first I was sad about not doing…then just couldn’t care less.. Quite literally I felt this Hell in a Bottle has been causing all of this despite what these doctors, specialist, and the write ups about Lyrica put out for us Guinnea Pigs. I’d wake up every morning and think “Oh sh-t I’m still here, and go to bed praying I’d never wake up. Our 40th anniversary 2 weeks ago and all I could say was ‘Honey I am so sorry you got stuck with me” daily I’d see the stress of his worry about me and kept think how much better off he’d be without me. “Do you want to seek councelling mam? “No I am not nuts, No I don’t want uppers/downers I want to get off this!” August 19 I reduced from 150 to 125 for a week–2nd day got chills and hot flashes, panicky feeling and periodic feeling of head inflating and going to blow up. Doctor says I am fine and no withdrawals listed except a little anxiety to be expected??? Gee must be in my head imagination! Then a week later cut back to 100 (Tuesday) and fully intended to do so for a week and keep reducing by 25mg per week until weaned off it. 2nd day on 100 I ended up at ER with high blood pressure, head pressure, worst headache I’ve ever felt and hot/cold sweats, dizzy/vertigo and the doctor said “You need to see your family doctor and have your blood pressure addressed and we have no Neurologist on staff or an MRI here and sent me on my way (thursday)! I queeried stroke worries as we all read WARNING signs and……..pffttt (so now you understand why I feel no one takes me seriously). every dosage after brought these severe head pains and pressure and dizziness so again I tried with getting advice (yesterday Friday) as feel I have definitely developed an allergy to it, then told take just 25mg at bedtime as I had skipped my what should of been my second day of reduction from 100 to 50mg dosage yesterday morning as was terrified to take it! So last night I took 25mg which was now 24hrs since I had last taken 50mg–about 1 hour later I began experiencing the head pressure, vertigo and feeling ill. So today have decided I have no choice but to STOP NOW. Today is pure Hell, shortness of breath off/on, anxiety, heart ups and downs, concentration the pits! Anyone coming off this crap SHOULD be in a Hospital under supervision. Every second that goes by I am just praying to Make it through, pray to stop thinking about ‘Just let me Die’. My Fibromyalgia symptoms???? diagnosis??? are getting better daily since the 19th, I have already lost 5 pounds. I feel nausia but am eating my usual Toast/ bread and had noodles, drinking tons of water even though I feel almost like a lump in my throat. I have Fiorinol for Migraines which has helped with the head pain, I pray to God to either just take me when I go to bed tonight or to please please don’t let me have another day like this. The Vertigo is the WORSE for me it feels like I’m in an Elevator and all of a sudden I am plummeting down 1000 miles an hour and that happens just sitting in a chair! I will NOT take another Lyrica–no more weaning IT WILL KILL ME if I don’t STOP NOW! Never took medication aprt from OTC Tylenols etc and my once in a blue moon Fiorinol for Migraines and won’t take any thing from now on. Dilaudid? Lorazapam? I don’t think so! It’s time Doctors went back to Health CARE and not Pill Pushers!

  11. sarmacost says:

    After getting disgusted with weight gain from Lyrica I decided to go off this medicine. I suffer severily from neuropathy. I was taking one 300mg capsule twice per day. Now I have every classic symptom of withdrawal. I have chills and then sweats, depression, anger (my husband and I never fought for 29 years before this situation), I itch all over, my blood pressure is going up, my feet hurt severally, I cannot sleep, cannot get to sleep, I have caught myself falling several time, I am confused, I cry a lot, I have stomach pain on the left side of my stomach my vision is not good. I cannot find out what to take now. I have sleep problems, getting to sleep and staying asleep. I went to ER and my own Dr. and they were not sure what was wrong with me.

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