Side effects of Lyrica®
Central side effects
All antiepileptic drugs have corresponding central side effects due to their central nervous effect. These include:
- Difficulty concentrating,
- Unsteady gait and double vision.
Lyrica® also has a sedating effect, which in some cases is a desirable side effect of the therapy. Because of these central side effects, Lyrica® is used gradually with a slow dose adjustment. If such side effects occur, the dose should not be increased further. In some cases the dosage must first be reduced. As a rule, the side effects mentioned above subside with long-term administration.
Changes in blood count
In addition to the central nervous side effects, Lyrica® can also change the blood count.
In some cases, the white blood cell count can drop sharply (Leukopenia). This leads to an extremely high susceptibility to infection, as the immune system works almost exclusively through the white blood cells.
If the white blood cell count is below 3500 white blood cells / µl or at the same time the platelet count falls sharply (Thrombopenia), the preparation must be discontinued immediately.
Also gastrointestinal complaints like
- Abdominal pain and changes in appetite may occur.
Lyrica® can also have a liver-toxic effect and cause an increase in transaminases. These are signs of liver damage. For this reason, the transaminases (GOT, GPT, GGT) must be checked regularly. If the increase is more than 3 times the norm, the drug must be discontinued.
Water retention may occur when taking Lyrica®. It often occurs in the arms and legs, as well as in the tissue. Less water is retained in the abdomen or in the lungs or in other parts of the body. Water retention on the face was reported under side effects of unknown frequency.
Water retention is used in technical jargon Edema and can arise due to an imbalance in the electrolytes sodium and potassium. This means that Lyrica® may cause some people to be potassium deficient or high in sodium. This can, among other things, lead to water retention. Since the drug is largely excreted via the kidneys, this could also indicate that the kidneys are overloaded. A check of the electrolyte levels and kidney functions can be useful. The dose of Lyrica® should be adjusted accordingly.
Also read: Causes of Edema
Occasionally, muscle twitching, muscle spasms, muscle stiffness and muscle pain occur during treatment with Lyrica®. When muscle pain occurs, it often shows up in the legs, arms, and back area. Since Lyrica® intervenes directly and indirectly in various metabolic processes, these complaints can arise. A consultation with the doctor is advisable.
Also read our topic: Muscle aches
Side effects on the eye
During the course of therapy with Lyrica®, blurred vision and double vision can often occur. Occasionally, eye tremors, blurred vision, narrowing of the field of view, decreased visual acuity, eye pain, low vision, dry eyes, lacrimation, and puffy eyes while taking the drug. Lyrica® rarely causes eye irritation, light sensitivity, “tunnel vision”, dilated pupils, strabismus, altered spatial vision and “shaky images” as side effects. Side effects of unknown frequency with Lyrica® include loss of vision and corneal inflammation. As a rule, these side effects are mostly reversible. So they disappear again when the dosage is lower or the drug is stopped. If these side effects occur in the eye or around the eyesight, it is recommended to inform the treating doctor.
It has been observed that taking Lyrica® can often lead to increased appetite and weight gain. People who suffer from diabetes mellitus are particularly affected. All previous illnesses and medications should always be given to the doctor. An individual drug setting is required.
Joint pain is occasionally seen with Lyrica® treatment. Joint pain can be triggered, especially if there is a predisposition to diseases such as gout or rheumatoid arthritis. Even with this side effect, you shouldn't be afraid to inform your doctor.
Occasionally the drug can cause refusal to eat. This side effect is related to the metabolic processes in the brain changed by Lyrica®. If the dosage is adjusted or the drug is discontinued, normal food consumption will usually return. Weight loss rarely occurs with normal eating behavior. If this is observed, advice should be sought from the doctor.
Duration of side effects
As a rule, the side effects are subject to a so-called tolerance development. This means that if you take Lyrica® for a long time, the side effects will decrease. When the drug is slowly increased in dose, many side effects can be reduced or avoided. That means the dosage of the drug should be increased slowly and individually. As a rule, the side effects are largely reversible and disappear again after stopping the drug. However, Lyrica® should never be suddenly discontinued if and because of side effects. It is recommended that you always consult your doctor. If certain side effects cannot be completely avoided in the short term, there are ways to minimize them through supportive measures and therapies.
Side effects after discontinuation
Abrupt withdrawal can lead to drowsiness, depression, diarrhea, insomnia, headache, nervousness, flu-like symptoms, pain and sweating. Therefore, a slow, gradual withdrawal of Lyrica® is strongly recommended. This should be done in consultation with the doctor.
Special features when taking Lyrica®
There are others particularitieswhich, in certain patient groups, are taking Lyrica® should be observed.
At diabetes- Patient it can become one by taking Lyrica unwanted weight gain come. In this case, the antidiabetic medication must be re-dosed.
Due to the sedating It has an effect through Lyrica®
- Drowsiness and possible loss of consciousness,
- Confusion and mental impairment.
The risk of falling is significantly increased, especially in older patients. Until the individual effects of Lyrica® are known, older patients in particular should be careful.
In rare cases, Lyrica® can cause side effects eye cause. These express themselves as blurred vision up to Loss of visual acuity. Most of these side effects are temporary and subside when the drug is discontinued. However, this must be taken into account when working, especially with machines, and when driving a motor vehicle.
Addictive potential of Lyrica®
Furthermore shows Lyrica® an addictive potential which increases after discontinuation Withdrawal symptoms can lead. Occur in some patients
- sleep disorders,
- a headache,
- flu-like symptoms,
- or nervousness, depressions, Pain, increased sweating, or drowsiness.
It is no maximum duration of therapy known, under which no withdrawal symptoms occur. Withdrawal symptoms are very individual and do not occur in every patient. By a slow gradual dosage the withdrawal symptoms can be largely prevented. If the side effects still occur, they can be controlled with light medication and recede after a few days.
Lyrica® can also increase the side effects of some medications. These can be a Respiratory failure, coma, Drowsiness, sleepiness and Lack of concentration amplify. In particular, these severe side effects occur in combination with drugs that contain oxycodone, lorazepam, or alcohol. In general, however, Lyrica® leads to undesirable side effects less often than the classic ones Anti-epileptic drugs.