What Is Pregabalin Used For?
Pregabalin uses are concerned mainly with the treatment of epilepsy, nerve pain caused by spinal cord injury, diabetic peripheral neuropathy, fibromyalgia, and postherpetic neuralgia in adults. The drug is not approved to treat nerve pain or epilepsy in children. From time to time, pregabalin is used for treating something other than the conditions mentioned above. Among these potential "off-label" pregabalin uses are the treatment of moderate pain (such as after a dental procedure) and anxiety.
What Is Pregabalin Used For? -- An OverviewPregabalin (Lyrica®) is a prescription medication approved for the treatment of the following conditions:
- Diabetic peripheral neuropathy -- Pregabalin is used for the treatment of nerve pain associated with this condition
- Epilepsy -- Pregabalin is used along with other seizure medications to treat a certain type of seizures called partial seizures
- Fibromyalgia -- Pregabalin is helpful for relieving fibromyalgia pain
- Postherpetic neuralgia -- Pregabalin can be used to treat nerve pain that occurs after an outbreak of shingles
- Nerve pain caused by spinal cord injury.
Pregabalin and Diabetic Neuropathy
Diabetic neuropathy is a nerve disorder caused by diabetes. Diabetic neuropathy is most likely to occur in people who have had diabetes for several years. In fact, keeping your blood sugar under control can be a very effective way to prevent diabetic neuropathy (see Diabetic Neuropathy Prevention). There are several different types of diabetic neuropathy, and pregabalin is approved to treat a specific type called diabetic peripheral neuropathy. This type of diabetic neuropathy damages nerves in the legs and arms. The feet and legs are likely to be affected before the hands and arms. Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy may include:
- Numbness or insensitivity to pain or temperature
- Sharp pains or cramps
- A tingling, burning, or prickling sensation
- Extreme sensitivity to touch -- even a light touch
- Loss of balance and coordination.
Pregabalin and Epilepsy
Epilepsy is a brain condition that occurs when there are sudden, brief changes in how the brain's electrical system works. These changes in brain activity can lead to a seizure (see Epilepsy Symptoms). Depending on which part of the brain is affected, a seizure may affect the person's consciousness, body movements, emotions, or senses (taste, touch, smell, vision, or hearing).
Some people may have only a single seizure during their lives, and one seizure does not mean that a person has epilepsy (see Seizures and Epilepsy). In fact, the term epilepsy refers to a number of different kinds of unprovoked, recurring seizures that happen for a number of different reasons.
In over half of all cases, the cause of epilepsy is not known. When the cause of epilepsy is known, it may be one of the following:
- Other medical conditions, such as a stroke or Alzheimer's disease
- Head trauma
- A brain tumor or brain infection, such as meningitis
- Alcohol or drug abuse
- Genetics (see Genes and Epilepsy).
There are over 30 different types of seizures a person with epilepsy may experience. These seizures are generally classified into two main categories -- partial seizures (also known as focal seizures) and generalized seizures. Partial seizures occur in just one part of the brain. About 60 percent of people with epilepsy have partial seizures.
Epilepsy treatments may include medications (see Epilepsy Medication), surgery (see Epilepsy Surgery), diet changes (see Epilepsy Diet), and biofeedback. Pregabalin is approved to be used along with other seizure medications to treat partial seizures. It is not approved to be used alone for this use.