We’re receiving more and more enquiries about the drug Pregabalin, particularly when combined with other drugs, especially opiates. The drug has positive uses when prescribed for the correct reasons, however, it can also produce feelings of euphoria, relaxation and calmness, when misused with other drugs, increasing the risk of drug addiction related adverse effects and behaviour.
Some health officials are concerned about the rise of the new prescription medication for recreational use and the possible prescription drug addiction, especially among younger people. The drug, known as Lyrica in the US, was approved for use in the European Union in 2007. It is classified as a Schedule V controlled substance in the United States and leads to drug addiction.
When prescribed by a doctor, Pregabalin is used for a number of legitimate reasons, including:
- neuropathic pain relief (fibromyalgia)
- control of seizures (epilepsy)
- treatment for anxiety and excessive compulsive disorders.
The drug is recognised by most health bodies as relatively safe and with a low potential for abuse and addiction. However, both the UK and the US are seeing use of the drug rise among recreational drug users. The main concern is the amount of the drug that needs to be taken in order to produce feelings of euphoria. Such large amounts can lead to overdose with very significant side effects.
The properties that make Pregabalin appropriate for anxiety treatment are the same properties that might be leading some people to use the drug recreationally. Pregabalin is considered an anxiolytic, meaning it can prohibit anxiety by blocking certain receptors in the brain. Benzodiazepines are one of the most common anxiolytics on the market, but are highly addictive. Doctors are now more willing to prescribe Pregabalin because it mimics the effects of benzodiazepines without the high incidence of addiction.
Some have described the effect of Pregabalin as similar to being intoxicated. The drug is a depressant of sorts and, as many users have discovered, substantially increases the effects of alcohol when the two are taken together. This is one of the primary concerns among health officials.
For normal anxiety treatment, 25 mg is the common dosage. However, there are reports of some users ingesting as much as 1,400 mg at a time. These larger doses help to create feelings of euphoria that can be addictive. When regular Pregabalin use is combined with more highly addictive drugs, the potential for problems increases.
Pregabalin Side Effects
Nearly every prescription medication comes with a certain number of side effects. Pregabalin is a no exception. Roughly one in every ten users will experience dizziness, headaches, and insomnia. These three side effects are mostly minor. More serious side effects can occur in some people, including:
- confusion, difficulty concentrating
- trouble with balance, blurred vision
- irritability, depression
- vertigo, tremors, impaired speech.
There are literally dozens of additional side effects that can occur through normal use or abuse of Pregabalin. The fact remains that the drug alters the way the brain works to the extent that individuals can react in any number of ways. Some of the side effects can be rather severe with prolonged use or in overdose situation.
A Youtube Informational Video On Pregablin:
According to a 2013 study published by the Emergency Medicine Journal, approximately 10 patients were admitted to A&E of a Belfast hospital after experiencing a Pregabalin overdose in 2012. Of the 10, six were suffering from seizures requiring immediate medical attention. Two of the patients were admitted to intensive care and had to be intubated and ventilated. All but one was kept at least 24 hours for observation and additional care, while one insisted on early release against the advice of his doctors.
Researchers went on to warn doctors across the UK that recreational use of Pregabalin is on the rise. Because the drug is relatively new for such purposes, the medical community is not well versed on its toxicity. Nevertheless, they are learning more as recreational use increases.
Warnings to Users
Despite Pregabalin exhibiting a low potential for addiction and abuse, doctors are warning consumers not to use the drug without a prescription. They are especially concerned about its use among people who are already using other psychoactive substances. Keep in mind that the low risk of addiction is based on use of the drug alone, as a prescription medication. It does not stretch to using Pregabalin in concert with other drugs.
Early research suggests that individuals already predisposed to addictive behaviour could easily become dependent on Pregabalin as well. Individuals already dealing with addictions to legal highs and alcohol are also at greater risk. Pregabalin is not a drug that should be combined with other prescription medications or illicit drugs.
Users also need to be aware of the withdrawal symptoms associated with Pregabalin. Mild withdrawal symptoms include dizziness, insomnia, headaches, and diarrhoea. However, the potential for seizures is very real. In an uncontrolled environment, seizures can lead to additional injuries, some of which can be rather significant.
If you are currently using Pregabalin without a prescription, you are encouraged to stop immediately. Prolonged use of the drug in excess could be potentially dangerous in ways not yet understood.
- NHS – https://www.nhs.uk/medicine-guides/pages/MedicineOverview.aspx?condition=Anxiety&medicine=pregabalin
- Emergency Medicine Journal – https://emj.bmj.com/content/30/10/874.2.short