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Pregabalin for neuropathic pain

What is pregabalin?

Pregabalin belongs to a type of medicines used to treat neuropathic pain. Neuropathic pain is caused by nerves not working normally.

The pain can feel like:

  • hotness
  • burning
  • throbbing
  • shooting
  • sharpness
  • cramping
  • tingling
  • numbness
  • ‘pins and needles’

What are the types of pregabalin?

Pregabalin comes in capsule form and can be taken with or without food. Pregabalin capsules can be taken and swallowed with a glass of water, juice or something similar.

The capsule can also be opened and mixed with a small amount of food, such as yogurt, honey or jam, on a teaspoon.

How does pregabalin work?

The medicine works by changing the way nerves send messages to the brain. When nerves are damaged or become irritated they are unable to transmit correct messages to the brain. If these messages are reduced, then pain will hopefully reduce.

How long will it take to work?

It is important to remember that because nerve pain often builds up over time, it may take time for it to settle down. Your child may need to continue regular treatment for 2 to 4 weeks before you feel any benefit. Some people do get some benefit straight away, but be prepared to allow time for it to work.

Is pregabalin used for treating epilepsy as well?

Pregabalin can be used for treating epilepsy. Epilepsy is also caused by the nerves sending false messages, but this time to the muscles. Pregabalin is very effective in the relief of certain types of pain, and this is now its main use.

When and how much pregabalin do I take?

Your child’s doctor will work out the correct dose of pregabalin that is right for you or your child. The doctor will build up the dose gradually. This will help your child get used to the medicine.

What if I forget to give my child their dose?

If you forget to give your child their dose, give it to them as soon as you remember, unless it is close to their next dose.

Never give them double dose to make up for a forgotten dose.

Are there any side effects of pregabalin?

Medicines are meant to help us better, but sometimes they cause problems that we do not want.

Your child may get some side effects when they first start pregabalin. They will usually settle down within a week or so as your child’s body gets used to the medicine.

Common side effects include:

  • drowsiness
  • dizziness or unsteadiness
  • confusion
  • appetite changes – try to give your child food that is low in fat and sugar
  • feeling sick or being sick
  • diarrhoea
  • constipation
  • wind
  • dry mouth
  • difficulty concentrating
  • visual disturbances such as blurred vision

Occasionally children may seem particularly emotional, anxious, overactive or may have problems with their memory

If your child is experiencing any side effects that are worry you, let your doctor or pain nurse know.

Can other medicines be given at the same time as pregabalin?

Yes, you can give your child regular pain killers unless your doctor has told you not to.

Remember it is important to tell your doctor what medications you are taking, including those bought without prescription or herbal medicines. We will inform your GP that you have started pregabalin and any changes to the dose.

Do not take pregabalin at the same time as indigestion remedies. Wait at least 2 hours between these types of medicines.

Is there anything else I need to know?

You child cannot suddenly stop taking pregabalin, as they may get withdrawal symptoms.

Never change the dose without getting advice from your child’s doctor or pain nurse

If and when your child’s doctor decides to stop this medicine, they will discuss this with you. You will usually reduce the dose bit by bit.

Order a new prescription from your GP at least 2 weeks before you run out.

Contact us

If you have any questions or concerns about pregabalin please speak with the Pain Team.

You can contact the pain nurses 8.30am to 6pm Monday to Friday on 0114 271 7397. If it is out of hours please leave a message and we will get back to you.

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Please note: this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s NHS FT. These details may not reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If this information has been translated into another language from English, efforts have been made to maintain accuracy, but there may still be some translation errors. If you are unsure about any of the guidance in this resource or have specific questions about how it relates to your child, always ask your healthcare professional for further advice.

Resource number: PAI12

Resource Type: Article

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