Medication Profile - Lyrica Off-Label for Migraine

Nancy Harris Bonk Health Guide
  • There's a wide variety of medications used for Migraine, most of which are prescribed off-label. If Lyrica (pregabalin) has been prescribed for you, or if you and your doctor have been considering it, here's some information that should be helpful.


    Type of medication:

    Pregablin, brand name Lyrica, is an neuronal stabilizing agent (anticonvulsant medication) that is also prescribed off-label for Migraine and headache prevention. It is also used for fibromyalgia and neuropathic pain.



    • It is extremely important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits, especially when starting pregabalin. He can make dose changes if necessary which may reduce unwanted side effects.
    • This medication will add to the effects of alcohol and other central nervous system (CSN) depressants.
    • Pregabalin may cause vision problems, dizziness, clumsiness, drowsiness or trouble thinking.
    • Some anticonvulsant medications may cause people to be irritable, agitated or show other abnormal behaviors. It may also cause you to become more depressed or have suicidal thought and tendencies. If you have any of these side effects, please tell your doctor right away.
    • You may retain fluid or gain weight with pregabalin.
    • Do not stop this medication abruptly, as you may have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms such as seizures, dizziness, stomach distress, headache, trouble sleeping and more.
    • Tell your doctor if you have any unexplained muscle pain, weakness or tenderness especially with fever.
    • Diabetic patients should check with their doctor if they notice changes or sores on their skin while taking pregabalin.
    • Do not take any other medication, prescription, over-the-counter medications and herbal supplements unless you have discussed them with your doctor.
    • If you are having surgery including dental surgery, let the doctor who is performing the surgery know you are taking pregabalin.
    • Do not drink alcohol when taking pregabalin as it can increase the drowsiness this medication may cause.
    • Pregabalin may be habit forming.

    Pregnancy and Breastfeeding:

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    • FDA Pregnancy Category C: This generally means there are no sufficient studies done on pregnant women OR no animal studies have been conducted. However, for pregabalin, animal studies have shown that it does in fact cause adverse effect on animal fetus and crosses over the placenta. Taking pregabalin during pregnancy is only advised when there are no other options and the benefits outweigh the risks.
    • Inform your doctor if you are or are planning to become pregnant. He may want you to join a pregnancy registry for pregnant patients taking anticonvulsant medications.
    • Pregabalin may cause birth defects if the father is using it when the mother becomes pregnant.
    • There are no adequate studies in women to determine what the infant risk is when using pregabalin while breastfeeding, but animal studies have reported pregabalin to be seen in breast milk. It is important to weigh the potential benefits again the potential risks before taking pregabalin if you plan on breastfeeding. 

    Other medical conditions:

  • Be sure to let your doctor know of other medical problems you may have, especially:

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    • current or history of angioedema.
    • any history of substance abuse or dependency.
    • currently have or had have a history of cancer.
    • suffer from depression or have had a history of depression.
    • diabetes - may increase weight and increase risk for skin sores
    • edema
    • heart disease -congestive heart failure - use with caution -may increase risk of side effects.
    • heart rhythm problems
    • kidney disease - use with caution - effects may be increased due to slower removal of medication from body.
    • have or have any history of mental illness.
    • renal impairment
    • thrombocytopenia - low platelet count - use with caution - may make these conditions worse.

    Other medications:

    Be sure to let your doctor know of ALL medications you are taking, especially

    • ketorolac (Toradol)
    • naproxen
    • ginkgo biloba
    • rosigitazone (Avandia)
    • heart or blood pressure medication including Lotensin, Vasotec, Accupril, Altace and others.

    Potential side effects:

    • Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following serious side effects occur but do not suddenly stop taking pregabalin:
      • blistering, peeling or loosening skin
      • burning, numbness of tingling of the hands, feet or skin
      • chills
      • constant sore throat
      • cough
      • diarrhea
      • difficult or labored breathing
      • difficulty swallowing
      • dizziness
      • fast heartbeat
      • hives
      • itching
      • joint or muscle pain
      • new or different changes in mood - panic attacks, feeling anxious, depressed or restless.
      • puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips or tongue
      • rash
      • shortness of breath
      • tightness or pain in chest
      • urinary incontinence
      • wheezing
    • Common side effects:
      • "high" feeling
      • abnormal gait
      • amnesia
      • arthralgia/myalgia - muscle and/or joint pain
      • ataxia
      • bloating
      • confusion
      • constipation
      • dizziness
      • dry mouth
      • gas
      • headache
      • increased appetite
      • infection
      • muscle twitching
      • neuropathy
      • pain
      • problems with memory
      • somnolence (sleepiness)
      • speech problems
      • tremor
      • vertigo
      • vision issues; blurry, double, abnormal vision

    Brand names:

    • U.S.: Lyrica

    Related Information:




    Wolters Kluwer. Lyrica. Drugs.Com. Last revised September 16, 2011.



    Cerner Multum, Inc. Lyrica. Last revised September 16, 2011.


    Material on this page is for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice. Always consult your physician or pharmacist regarding medications.



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    © The HealthCentral Network, 2012
    Last Updated March 11, 2012.

Published On: February 01, 2012