Pregabalin / Lyrica Withdrawal Symptoms, Timeline and Treatment
What is Lyrica (Pregabalin)?
Lyrica (pregabalin) is a prescription medication that belongs to a class of drugs known as anticonvulsants. Lyrica is used to treat cases of nerve pain associated with damaged nerves, diabetes, shingles or fibromyalgia. Drugs like Lyrica work by effectively reducing the pain signals released by damaged or affected nerves.1
What Is Pregabalin Withdrawal?
You may be wondering whether you can stop taking pregabalin suddenly. Perhaps you want to find out how to withdraw from Lyrica. Going cold turkey / stopping Lyrica suddenly or drastically decreasing the dose can lead to uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms or side effects.1 In some cases, withdrawal symptoms when a person comes off Lyrica can become life-threatening and require medical care. It’s best to detox from Lyrica under the supervision of a doctor or another healthcare professional.
This article will discuss:
Symptoms of Pregabalin Withdrawal
Pregabalin withdrawal symptoms are similar to those of withdrawal from alcohol or benzodiazepines.5 The severity of the side effects of Lyrica withdrawal can vary based on the length of time the medication was used, the dose and whether the person was abusing other drugs.
People who have used very high doses of Lyrica, or who have been on the medication for an extended period of time, may encounter more severe withdrawal symptoms. Those who have taken a lower dose or used pregabalin for a short period of time may experience mild withdrawal symptoms or no symptoms at all when quitting Lyrica.
Signs and symptoms of Lyrica withdrawal can include: 1,2,3,4
- Rapid heartbeat or palpitations.
- Difficulty falling or staying asleep.
- Cravings for Lyrica.
- Behavioral changes.
- Mood changes.
- Suicidal thoughts or behavior.
Complications Arising From Lyrica Withdrawal
Lyrica withdrawal symptoms can cause complications—some of which can be life-threatening.
- Dehydration. Diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and increased sweating can lead to dehydration or electrolyte imbalance.
- Heart problems. Rapid heartbeat or palpitations can lead to cardiac issues that can become life-threatening.
- Seizures. Since Lyrica can be used to manage seizures, abruptly stopping the medication can lead to a recurrence of seizures, which can be fatal.
- Overdose. Similar to other drugs, rapidly stopping use of Lyrica can lead to strong cravings and relapse, which can increase the likelihood of overdose.
- Suicidal thoughts. In addition, depression and suicidal thoughts or behavior are common psychological withdrawal symptoms that can be dangerous.4 Moreover, feelings of anxiety and depression increase the chances of relapse and overdose.
Lyrica Withdrawal Timeline
You may be wondering what the pregabalin withdrawal timeline is like or how long Lyrica withdrawal lasts. Acute Lyrica withdrawal symptoms last for approximately 1-2 days when use of the drug is suddenly stopped.5 However, residual symptoms may remain for several weeks.2
Users should slowly taper off Lyrica under the care of a medical professional. This is to ease the intensity of the symptoms of withdrawal from Lyrica.5 As mentioned above, the duration of detox may be more pronounced or prolonged in people who have used large amounts or who have taken Lyrica over an extended period of time.
Causes of Lyrica Withdrawal Symptoms
Over time, chronic use of Lyrica can lead to tolerance. The brain and body become accustomed to Lyrica use and eventually are desensitized to the effects of the drug. Once an individual has developed a tolerance, a higher dose is required to attain the desired results, whether those results are relief of seizures or pain or a euphoric high.
Continued use of Lyrica can also lead to a physical dependence, meaning that the individual requires a specific amount of Lyrica in their system to function normally. Without this amount of Lyrica, the individual will experience withdrawal symptoms.
Lyrica Withdrawal Treatment
Participating in professional detox treatment can ensure a safe and comfortable withdrawal period to begin the recovery process when you quit pregabalin. Detox or withdrawal should be followed by participation in a formal addiction treatment program to increase the likelihood of long-term sobriety.6
Participating in a formal Lyrica addiction treatment program can help to strengthen and solidify recovery, aid in the development of a sober support network, develop a sense of accountability and help a person learn and practice relapse prevention techniques that are helpful in maintaining long-term sobriety. Formal treatment also provides peer support, professional therapeutic techniques and medical or psychiatric support services.
Addiction is a different experience for each person and various types of treatment are available. Treatment for Lyrica addiction includes the following:
- Detox facilities: These clinics provide a safe, medically supervised environment where the person can detox safely from Lyrica. Medical and counseling professionals are on hand to provide support for the duration of detox and monitor people for risks or complications.
- Inpatient treatment: Treatment occurs in a residential facility where recovering Lyrica users stay for varying lengths of time, from a period of 28 days to 60 days or 90 days. The facility provides a safe and structured sober environment where people receive intensive group and individual therapy sessions, as well as medical and psychiatric monitoring if necessary.
- Outpatient treatment: Outpatient substance abuse recovery programs allow people to take care of demands at work, school and home while receiving top-quality treatment in both group and individual formats. Depending on the type of outpatient program, access to psychiatric and medical support may also be provided.
- Partial hospitalization: This type of treatment provides medical care and intensive individual and group therapy sessions while allowing people to live outside of the facility and still attend to family and home responsibilities. Partial hospitalization usually requires more of a time commitment than standard outpatient care.
American Addiction Centers has helped thousands recover from addiction and we can help you or your loved one too. Check your insurance to find out instantly if your insurance provider may be able to cover all or part of the cost of rehab and associated therapies. You can contact AAC for free at for help stopping Lyrica use. You can also sign up 24/7 text support for addiction questions at your convenience and use the form below to determine whether your insurance provider will cover treatment for Lyrica misuse.
Medications for Lyrica Withdrawal
A lot of people wonder how to wean off Lyrica, but Lyrica withdrawal is fairly new to the addiction treatment community and a formal treatment protocol has not been established.
According to addiction treatment professionals, Lyrica withdrawal can be safely managed by slowly decreasing the dose over a period of time to reduce the amount and intensity of withdrawal symptoms (a process known as tapering off).2 Additionally, treatment professionals may use certain medications to manage some of the specific symptoms of withdrawal.2
Clonidine is used to treat high blood pressure, but it also works as a mild sedative. It has been used to manage symptoms of alcohol, opioid and Lyrica withdrawal and can help to manage the agitation due to withdrawal.2
Dexmedetomidine is another prescription medication with similar effects to clonidine. Because of its high cost and marked hypotensive potential, dexmedetomidine is considered a second-line medication only if clonidine is not available or does not have the desired effects.2
At this point, neither of these medications have been studied enough to be considered evidence-based medication-assisted treatments.
Medical detox professionals may prescribe other medications to treat symptoms of withdrawal.
- Seizures. If someone was prescribed Lyrica for seizures or has experienced seizures as part of the withdrawal process, it is essential to prescribe anti-seizure medication to ensure continued health and safety.
- Gastrointestinal. Nausea can be managed with specific medications, such as Zofran. Diarrhea or upset stomach can be treated with Imodium.
- Insomnia. Difficulty falling or staying asleep is a common issue with Lyrica withdrawal. Medical detox professionals may prescribe sleep aids that are not habit-forming and have a low potential for abuse, such as trazodone.
How to Stop Taking Lyrica
You may be wondering how to stop taking pregabalin. Coming off Lyrica is challenging. Addiction and withdrawal can be better managed under the care of treatment professionals. You can contact American Addiction Centers (AAC) for free at for help weaning off Lyrica. You can also use the form below to determine whether your insurance provider will cover rehabilitation or check your insurance benefits.
Insurance Providers That May Cover Lyrica Addiction Treatment
Learn more about paying for rehab with these insurance providers:
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