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Anticonvulsants are one of the mainstays for vulvodynia treatment prescribed by the medical community. The two most popular are Gabapentin and Pregabalin (Lyrica).
If you would describe your chronic vulvar pain as mostly “stabbing” or “shooting” then your problem might stem from a damaged nerve and anticonvulsants might be an effective option for you.
#1: What is Pregabalin (Lyrica)?
Pregabalin is a prescription anticonvulsant and neuropathic pain agent marketed under the brand name Lyrica amongst others.
#2: How Does Lyrica Work?
Lyrica, similarly to Gabapentin and other anticonvulsants, works in the brain and nervous system. It stabilizes the electrical activity in the brain which calms the excessive rapid firing of neurons during convulsions, which prevents seizures.
It also affects the way nerves send messages to the brain.
#3: Lyrica for Vulvodynia
Lyrica is a drug not only used to treat seizure disorder, but also neuropathic pain. If you suffer from generalized vulvodynia and your pain is caused by damaged or over-sensitized nerves characterized by burning, shooting and stabbing sensation then Lyrica can calm your pain.
However, the exact way in which Lyrica works for vulvodynia is not fully understood.
#4: Lyrica Dosage
Lyrica for vulvodynia is usually administered in the form of a tablet taken orally.
Doctors usually recommend to start the medication with low doses and increase gradually, to help prevent side effects. The drug does not work immediately – it may take several weeks or even longer to experience the full benefits of it.
Starting dosage of Lyrica for vulvodynia is typically 25 mg administered twice a day. It is increased by 150 mg per week. The maximum dose is 600 mg daily.
Oral Pregabalin (Lyrica) Study
Pregabalin was reported to reduce symptoms by 80% for generalized, unprovoked vulvodynia in one case report.
#5: Best Practices for Lyrica Uses
#6: Lyrica Side Effects
The most common side effects of Lyrica include:
- Trouble concentrating
- Dry mouth
- Digestive problems (nausea, constipation, gas, bloating, vomiting)
- Speech problems
- Memory problems
- Weight gain
- Increased appetite
- Muscle pain including back pain
- Muscle twitching
- Lack of coordination
- Soreness and weakness
- Swelling of limbs (arms, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs)
Less common, but very serious side effects include:
- Visual problems (double vision, blurred vision)
- Suicidal thoughts or behavior
- Violent behavior, aggressiveness
- Depression or anxiety
- Panic attacks
- Unusual changes in behavior
- Allergic reactions:
- Severe rashes
- Swelling of the face, throat, mouth, lips, gums, tongue, head or neck
- Difficulty breathing and chest pain
- Abnormal bleeding and bruising
#7: Lyrica Interactions
IMPORTANT: Let your healthcare professional know if you are taking any other prescription and non-prescription medications, illegal, recreational, herbal, nutritional and dietary drugs.Some truly unpleasant side effects can be intensified.
Lyrica may interact with:
- Medications for diabetes such as pioglitazone (Actos, Duetact) and rosiglitazone (Avandia, in Avandaryl, Avandamet)
- They may cause weight gain or swelling of feet and hands if taken with Pregabalin. In the case of heart problems, they can increase the risk of heart failure
- Narcotic pain medications including oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet)
- They can worsen dizziness and sleepiness
- Tranquilizers, sedatives, sleeping pills or drugs used to treat anxiety such as lorazepam (Ativan)
- They can also worsen dizziness and sleepiness
- Muscle relaxants such as carisoprodol, cyclobenzaprine
- Antihistamines such as cetirizine, diphenhydramine
- Cough relievers such as codeine or hydrocodone
- Other antidepressants
- Heart medications such as captopril (Capoten, Capozide), enalapril (Vasotec, Vaseretic, Lexxel), lisinopril or the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors benazepril (Lotensin, Lotrel)
- They may cause swelling and hives
- Medications for mental illness or seizures
- Vitamins, herbs
- Alcohol and other stimulants such as marijuana
- They might increase dizziness and drowsiness, and cause difficulty concentrating
- Medication for obesity such as Orlistat (Xenical, Alli)
- Kidney medication such as Calcifediol
#8: Lyrica Contraindications and Warnings
1. If you are pregnant (or planning to get pregnant):
There haven’t been enough studies to show how the drug affects the fetus, and if it safe to take it during pregnancy. However, research in animals has shown that high doses of Lyrica increased the risk of adverse effects to the fetus. Therefore this medication should only be used when the potential benefits justify the potential risks.
For more information about the effects of anticonvulsants on pregnancy please check NAAED Pregnancy Registry.
2. If you are breastfeeding, please be aware that:
Lyrica can pass into breast milk and may cause serious side effects in a breastfed child.
You may need to decide whether to find an alternative to this drug, stop breastfeeding or cease the medication.
Please talk to your doctor about possible risks to you and your baby, in order to weigh these risks against the benefits of using Pregabalin.
3. If you have kidneys problems:
Your body processes Lyrica slower than at the average rate and it might not be able to clear the drug effectively from your system. This can dangerously increase the drug levels in your body, intensifying adverse effects.
4. If you have allergies (food, dyes, preservative, animal):
This medication may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions.
5. If you have depression or mental health issues:
This drug can increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior changes.
6. If you have heart problems:
Contact your doctor immediately if you notice symptoms of worsening heart problems like swelling of your limbs, weight gain, fluid retention.
7. If you have diabetes:
Monitor your skin carefully and contact your doctor in case of any sores, redness or skin problems.
#9: Lyrica Discontinuation
Lyrica can produce withdrawal symptoms if you suddenly stop taking it or miss several doses of it.
In the case of stopping the drug, you can minimize these adverse symptoms by gradually reducing your dose over the course of at least one week.
Withdrawal symptoms might include:
- Sleep difficulties, nightmares
- Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
In this post, you can find general information about Lyrica for vulvodynia:
- What Lyrica is and how it works for vulvodynia
- Initial guidelines regarding dosage
- What types of side effects you might experience, including withdrawal symptoms
- Possible interactions, contraindications, and warnings
Please don’t feel discouraged if you feel little to no relief while taking Lyrica or if your pain will come back after the discontinuation of the medication.
Please keep in mind that Lyrica like other types of traditional medications might not treat nor heal the underlying root cause of your vulvar pain. Rather than temporarily eliminating and curing evidence of the illness or masking the symptoms. Lyrica also doesn’t heal your body.
Please remember that Lyrica is definitely not the only solution available for vulvodynia. There are still other medical and natural remedies that you can explore.
Did you find this post helpful? What other types of information would you like me to share with you?
Have you ever taken Lyrica? Did Lyrica help your symptoms?
Share with me all of your thoughts, experiences, and questions in the comments below! You can also ask me anything directly on FB.
My goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information that is factually correct, comprehensive and up-to-date.
However, the drug information provided herein is subject to changes and is not intended to cover all possible:
- Dosage indications and best practices for usage
- Side effects
- Drug interactions
- Contraindications and warnings
- Drug withdrawal symptoms
Additionally, each person is different and may respond differently to the drug.
Please also bear in mind, that this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a doctor or other licensed healthcare professionals. Please before taking any medication, consult it with your health provider, who knows your medical history.
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