Before we look at how this medication works, it is important to understand its background as well as its uses, safety and pharmacological effects. Questions that often get asked are what is pregabalin and how does this medication compare with gabapentin 300 mg? Both pregabalin and gabapentin are classified as gabapentinoids that work in a similar way and their pharmacological effects are much alike.
Pregabalin was developed as the successor to gabapentin and was endorsed for medical use in 2004. It is also known by the brand name Lyrica and became the first medication approved for the treatment of fibromyalgia in 2007. In clinical studies, this medication has also been shown to be highly effective in the treatment of nerve pain and generalised anxiety disorder.
There is no evidence to suggest this treatment has any persisting negative effects, even when taken for years, so long-term use is generally considered safe. It works by altering the way in which nerves transmit pain signals to the brain. As a result, it reduces the intensity of nerve pain, making conditions like diabetic peripheral neuropathy and postherpetic neuralgia more manageable.
The length of time it takes for this painkiller to work varies from one person to another. Most people will start feeling an improvement in pain within 1 to 2 weeks. However, for some people the effects may be felt straight away and for others it may take slightly longer than two weeks. The following are pregabalin dosage guidelines for different kinds of pain:
You can increase your dosage depending on how the medication reacts to your body. The maximum dosage for this medication is 300 mg which can be taken twice a day, or 200 mg which can be taken 3 times daily (not exceeding 600 mg per day).
For optimal treatment outcomes, it is best to try and take this medication at the same time each day. If you forget to take a pregabalin dose, take it as soon as you remember unless it is almost time for the next dose.
On average, pregabalin 300 mg tablets last 10 to 12 hours in the body but this medication usually needs a few weeks to become entirely effective. A clinical trial was conducted to assess the efficacy and time to onset of effects of this medication. Altogether, 338 patients with diabetic peripheral neuropathy or postherpetic neuralgia were involved in the study. They were given doses of up to 600 mg of pregabalin per day and the researchers used a numerical pain rating scale to determine results. It consisted of a rating of 1 to 10, whereby 1 represented no pain and 10 the worst pain imaginable.
By the end of day 1, they benefited from a decrease of 1 point on the pain rating scale. At the end of day 13, the pain rating had decreased by two full points and by day 23, it had decreased by 3 full points. The study confirmed the efficacy of this medicine and that it has a rapid onset of effects.
In clinical research, this medication has been known to work well as a treatment for pain and has even been shown to work well as a mood stabiliser. It can also help improve sleep and has assisted people with fibromyalgia in terms of getting back to their normal daily routines. Everyday Health has compiled a review of patient experiences and overall, ratings are positive, particularly for neuropathic pain and generalised anxiety disorder.
This medication has a half-life of about 5 to 7 hours so it takes this amount of time to eliminate half the medication from the body. Your body will process this medication quickly and it may stay in your system for about 33 hours. This length of time can vary, however, and it is dependent on a variety of individual factors that include the following:
When taken at higher doses, the likelihood of pregabalin side effects increases so the lowest effective dose should be administered during treatment. Overall, the following side effects tend to happen in slightly more than 10% of people:
Dizziness and drowsiness can be managed by ensuring that you do not increase the dose too quickly during treatment. This side effect generally wears off within the first two weeks of taking this medication. If you experience a headache, make sure you get plenty of rest and drink enough fluids to prevent a headache caused by dehydration. The use of alcohol and caffeine should be limited or avoided during treatment. Nausea can be prevented by taking this medication with food.
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