Lyrica (pregabalin) is a medication indicated for the treatment of nerve pain that results from shingles, diabetes, fibromyalgia, or other injuries and infection. Lyrica can also be used to treat certain types of seizures. A person who has become dependent on Lyrica may experience withdrawal symptoms when they attempt to quit or cut back. While Lyrica is thought to have a relatively low potential for abuse and misuse, addiction to this drug is a growing concern among medical professionals and addiction specialists. Some people who are prescribed Lyrica misuse it by taking it in excessive amounts or too frequently, or abuse it in conjunction with other substances, such as painkillers and alcohol. This is sometimes done to relieve pain, but also may be used as a means to produce feelings of relaxation, pleasure, and euphoria.
Common Lyrica Withdrawal Symptoms
As noted, if a person has become addicted to Lyrica and suddenly discontinues or dramatically lowers their dose, this can result in a number of withdrawal symptoms. These effects are the result of dependence, a condition in which a person’s body has adapted to a substance and is unable to function “normally” without it. Of note, even a person who does not misuse Lyrica can develop a chemical dependence on the medication. This is different than full-blown addiction, a condition that is also characterized by compulsive drug-seeking behavior and abuse. Still, even without addiction, withdrawal symptoms can occur. Because Lyrica has depressant properties, withdrawal symptoms associated with Lyrica are not unlike those experienced with alcohol or benzodiazepines. The severity and number of the symptoms a person encounters will vary based on several factors, including the following:
- Duration of time in which the medication was used
- The average dose that was taken
- Misuse of other drugs or alcohol
- Individual factors such as genetics and health
Signs and symptoms of Lyrica withdrawal may include the following:
- Behavioral changes
- Mood swings
- Accelerated heartbeat
- Sleep disturbances
In some instances, withdrawal symptoms related to Lyrica can lead to life-threatening complications, including the following:
- Heart problems
- Suicidal thoughts and behaviors
Lyrica Withdrawal Timeline
Most of the acute, short-term withdrawal symptoms associated with a dependence on Lyrica will last for about 24-48 hours days if the drug is stopped abruptly. In some cases, especially those involving other symptoms, these symptoms may persist for several days beyond. Residual symptoms, which are primarily emotional in nature, may last for several weeks. It is often beneficial for patients to be put on a tapering plan in which they gradually reduce their dose. This can help reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms and also mitigate cravings. The symptoms mentioned above may be extended or pronounced in those who have been taking Lyrica in large amounts or over a prolonged period.
Managing Lyrica Withdrawal Symptoms
In addition to a tapering schedule, there are several methods that can be used to manage withdrawal associated with discontinuing the use of Lyrica. These include many of the same treatments used for those who are withdrawing from other depressants, such as opioids or alcohol.
Lyrica Medications and Detox
For those experiencing Lyrica addiction, a medical detox program can be very beneficial. This method of undergoing withdrawal can offer a safe and comfortable detox period to kick off the recovery process. During this process, patients are monitored on either an inpatient or outpatient basis and are given medication and support to help them stabilize and prepare for further recovery treatment. Moreover, individuals who detox from Lyrica or other substances are urged to enroll in a professional addiction treatment program. These programs can be very effective and help to increase the likelihood that the person will be able to avoid relapse and sustain long-term sobriety. Medications that can be prescribed for mitigating Lyrica withdrawal symptoms include clonidine and dexmedetomidine, both of which have mild sedative effects. Antidepressants, such as Zoloft or Celexa, may be useful to reduce emotional symptoms, such as depression and anxiety.
Getting Help for Addiction
The decision to seek treatment for addiction and begin the journey to long-term recovery is one that can save your life or the life of a loved one, and time is of the essence. Learning what treatment options are available and choosing an appropriate program is the first step in this process. Long-term, comprehensive, and individualized treatment programs, such as those offered by Harmony Recovery Center, typically provide the best chance for success. Our programs feature therapeutic services and activities clinically-proven to be highly beneficial for the recovery process. These services include psychotherapy, counseling, group support, and much, much more. We believe that a healthy, happy life is possible for everyone, even those who have struggled with substance abuse. This life is waiting for you or your loved one, and all you have to do is contact us today!