Pregabalin is an anti-epileptic or anti-convulsant drug. It acts as a painkiller relieving pain caused by nerve damage. Certain types of seizures are also treated with pregabalin. The common brand name for pregabalin is ‘Lyrica’. 

On the drug addiction spectrum, pregabalin seems to be on the milder side and is not considered as addictive as other drugs. However, dangers do exist. 

It is a prescription drug and thus is only sold when prescribed to a person. Being a prescription drug, there are set doses for it, determined by the physician on cases to case basis. This means, consuming the drug in an exceeding quantity could be dangerous. Higher doses run the risk of addiction and drug abuse. One may develop dependence as well. Dizziness and drowsiness are common side effects. Warnings related to suicidal thoughts are also given related to pregabalin, as it could induce such thoughts. 

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More serious side effects include depression and anxiety, panic attacks, and even heart problems. These side effects can be further amplified if pregabalin is taken along with alcohol. We will assess this lethal combination in more detail within this article. We will glance at whether or not Lyrica and alcohol can be combined, and if not, then what are the reasons. Further, we will highlight the side effects are potential dangers of mixing the two. Lastly, we will consider the likelihood of developing drug dependency caused by pregabalin. 

As mentioned earlier, alcohol and pregabalin can prove to be a lethal combination. Abusing pregabalin on its own can have devastating side effects, but mixing it with alcohol seems to be stepping it up a few notches. The dangers of pregabalin abuse multiply and risks increase if the two drugs are combined. Even consuming a very small quantity of alcohol is enough to bring out the worst in pregabalin, and pose danger. 

Alcohol is one of the most common depressants of the nervous system. Pregabalin also works as a depressant. Combining two depressant drugs is very dangerous as it can ultimately lead to organ failure and death. When the two are combined, they increase each other’s depressing powers and can hinder the organ systems fatally. 

Alcohol is usually consumed in order to cope with psychological stress. However, it also carries the risk of suicidal thoughts. Similarly, one of the side effects of Lyrica abuse includes suicidal thoughts. When these effects of the two are mixed, it leads to even higher risks of not only suicidal thoughts, but it could even lead to suicidal attempts. 

Pregabalin Addiction and Overdose Effects in the UK

One of the warnings that come with pregabalin is that it must not be consumed with alcohol. If you’re an alcoholic or have a history of drinking, it is strongly advised that you ensure your physician is aware of this fact and allow him/her to assist you. You must consult with your doctor if you drink regularly, and have been prescribed Lyrica. 

Because Lyrica is now a common prescription drug, and alcohol is a commonly consumed drink, many people do not even consider the possibility of side effects. It does not even cross their minds as to what the consequences can be, and thus, being utterly oblivious, they can end up in a life-threatening situation, or a drug abuse problem at the very least.

Let us now look at the dangerous consequences of consuming this mixture, that has been warned against. Even if we consider the least dangerous scenario of mixing the two, the risks of dizziness and drowsiness are increased. The two can also lead to respiratory issues. 

Other possible side effects of mixing the two include:

• Reduced alertness

• Itching

• Hives

• Swelling of the throat, tongue, and lips

• Issues breathing

With the sedative effect of each drug being increased due to each other, a person may experience slow breathing which can again result in a fatal situation. It can also cause sleeplessness, which could affect the everyday life of the user. Not getting enough sleep, combined with other possible side effects, could lead to difficulties in practical life, such as poor performance at work, issues with family and friends, etc.

Besides these side effects, the long-term issue faced is that the heightened feelings of euphoria can lead to dependence and drug abuse. One may start to consume the drug in larger quantities to experience certain sensations. It is also not smart to stop pregabalin consumption outrightly, as it runs the risk of withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can be terrible to experience and many are not strong enough to pull through; they easily relapse and the whole scenario could turn even more dangerous. 

So the risk of dependence and withdrawal, combined with the alarming side effects, reflects the serious dangers that are attached to mixing pregabalin (Lyrica) and alcohol. 

Pregabalin’s adverse effects on the nervous system i.e. such as dizziness, sleepiness, and trouble concentrating, might be exacerbated by alcohol. Some people may also have difficulty thinking and making decisions. While using pregabalin, you should avoid or restrict your alcohol use. Pregabalin should not be used over the authorised amount, and you should avoid tasks that require mental alertness, such as driving or operating dangerous machinery, until you have a better understanding of how the drug affects you.

In that vein, it is best advised that the patient avoiding drinking alcohol till Lyrica is completely out of their system I.e., in approximately 33 hours. If Alcohol is mixed with Lyrica, it can have fatal consequences. 

Pregabalin has therapeutic properties, however, it is also a highly addictive drug. Addiction can develop throughout legitimate prescription drug usage, especially if your body becomes accustomed to it. Recreational users perceive the substance as a way to get ‘high’ and enjoy the pleasurable sensations it produces.

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The mechanisms of dependence are unknown, although they may have direct or indirect effects on the dopaminergic “reward” system. Nonetheless, because of its faster absorption and potency, pregabalin appears to have a higher risk of abuse; Its CNS depressive effects may interact with those of other CNS depressants.

Furthermore, it is when users stop taking pregabalin, that they develop tolerance and withdrawal symptoms. In Europe, there are extremely few reported examples of dependency (as opposed to abuse): 

– Due to the danger of abuse and/or dependency, the United States classified pregabalin as a controlled drug in 2005.

– Concerns regarding the danger of misusing or becoming addicted to pregabalin were raised in Europe since 2008.

– According to a retrospective review of German data, incidents of pregabalin misuse/dependence were documented as early as 2008.

– Pregabalin and its possible role in drug-related fatalities in Finland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom were reported to the EMCDDA Early Warning System in 2009.

There are nonetheless ways to get rid of the addiction.

Treatment for Dependence

• Look for signs of psychological and physical dependency, as well as withdrawal symptoms and co-morbid disorders including neuropathic pain and anxiety disorder.

• Discontinuation: Pregabalin tapering at a maximum of 50-100 mg every week.

• Benzodiazepines

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