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What not to take with pregabalin?

What not to take with pregabalin?

Navin Khosla NowPatientGreen tick
Created on 27 May 2024
Updated on 16 Jul 2024

Pregabalin is a medication used to treat a variety of conditions, including epilepsy, fibromyalgia, neuropathic pain, and anxiety. While it can be an effective treatment, it’s important to be aware of potential interactions and precautions when taking this medication. Let’s explore the key considerations and what you should avoid when taking pregabalin, to ensure your safe and effective use of this prescription drug.

Understanding pregabalin

Pregabalin, marketed under the brand name Lyrica, is an anticonvulsant medication that works by calming overactive nerves in the body. It’s primarily used to manage nerve pain associated with conditions like diabetes, shingles, and spinal cord injury. Additionally, pregabalin can be prescribed to prevent and control seizures in individuals with epilepsy and partial-onset seizures, as well as to improve symptoms of anxiety disorders.

Potential drug interactions and contraindications

Alcohol and Central Nervous System depressants

One of the most important precautions when taking pregabalin is to avoid consuming alcohol or other central nervous system (CNS) depressants. These include:

  • Antihistamines (for allergies, cough, and cold)
  • Certain medications for anxiety or sleep, such as benzodiazepines
  • Some blood pressure and heart disease medications
  • Antidepressants like amitriptyline, fluoxetine, and sertraline
  • Diabetes medications like pioglitazone and rosiglitazone
  • Seizure medications such as phenobarbital and primidone
  • General anesthetics used during surgery
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Narcotic pain medications such as opioids

Combining pregabalin with these medications can significantly worsen side effects like dizziness, drowsiness, and impaired cognitive function, potentially leading to dangerous situations like falls or accidents. It’s essential to discuss all your current medications including over-the-counter meds with your healthcare provider to reduce possible interactions.

Suicidal thoughts

Pregabalin has been associated with a small increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors, particularly during the early weeks of treatment. It’s advisable to monitor yourself or your loved one for any changes in mood, new or worsening depression, anxiety, or thoughts of self-harm. If such symptoms arise, immediately contact your healthcare provider.

Respiratory depression

When used in combination with narcotic pain medications, pregabalin can increase the risk of respiratory depression, a serious and potentially life-threatening breathing problem. Symptoms to watch out for include, pale or blue lips, fingernails, or skin, as well as difficulty or irregular breathing. Seek immediate medical advice if these signs appear.

Allergic reactions

In rare cases, pregabalin can trigger a severe allergic reaction known as angioedema, characterized by swelling of the face, lips, tongue, throat, or limbs, accompanied by trouble breathing or swallowing. If you experience any of these symptoms, seek emergency medical care immediately, as this can be a life-threatening situation.

Weight gain

Pregabalin may cause fluid retention, leading to swelling (edema) in the hands, arms, legs, and feet. This can be especially problematic for individuals with heart failure. Additionally, the medication may contribute to weight gain, which can exacerbate certain medical conditions. Monitor your weight and fluid balance closely, and discuss any concerns with your healthcare provider.

Precautions for specific populations

Older adults

Pregabalin may not be suitable for individuals over the age of 65, as the medication can have a stronger effect on the elderly. Your healthcare provider may recommend a lower starting dose or closer monitoring to ensure safety and tolerability.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

There is a slightly increased risk of birth defects associated with the use of pregabalin during pregnancy. If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, it’s crucial to discuss the potential risks and benefits with your healthcare provider. In some cases, the benefits of continued treatment may outweigh the risks.

For breastfeeding mothers, pregabalin does pass into breast milk in small amounts, but it’s generally considered safe to use while breastfeeding. However, it’s still essential to monitor your infant for any potential side effects and consult with your healthcare provider.

Kidney disease

Pregabalin is mainly eliminated through the kidneys, so individuals with impaired kidney function may require dose adjustments or alternative treatment options. Your healthcare provider will closely monitor your kidney function and make appropriate medication decisions.

Discontinuing pregabalin

Abruptly stopping pregabalin can lead to severe withdrawal symptoms, including seizures, anxiety, and physical discomfort. It’s crucial to never suddenly discontinue the medication without consulting your healthcare provider. Instead, they will guide you through a gradual process to safely wean you off the drug and minimize the risk of adverse effects.

Responsible use and monitoring

To ensure the safe and effective use of pregabalin, it’s essential to follow instructions from your healthcare professional. Attend regular check-ups, report any concerning side effects or changes in your condition, and be transparent about your medical history and other medications you’re taking. By working closely with your healthcare team, you can navigate the precautions and maximize the benefits of pregabalin while minimizing the risks.


Pregabalin is a versatile medication that can be highly effective in treating a range of conditions, but it’s crucial to be aware of the potential interactions and precautions. By understanding what to avoid, monitoring for side effects, and following your healthcare provider’s guidance, you can safely and responsibly use pregabalin to manage your health and improve your quality of life.


Medical Disclaimer

NowPatient has taken all reasonable steps to ensure that all material is factually accurate, complete, and current. However, the knowledge and experience of a qualified healthcare professional should always be sought after instead of using the information on this page. Before taking any drug, you should always speak to your doctor or another qualified healthcare provider.

The information provided here about medications is subject to change and is not meant to include all uses, precautions, warnings, directions, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or negative effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a particular medication does not imply that the medication or medication combination is appropriate for all patients or for all possible purposes.

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