Is Lyrica an antidepressant? (3+ clinical uses of Lyrica)

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In this blog post, we are going to answer the question, “Is Lyrica an antidepressant?”. Lyrica (Pregabalin) is one of the commonly prescribed medications for the treatment and management of a number of mental health illnesses. 

This blog will cover the kind of medication Lyrica is and the conditions treated by it. We will also discuss how Lyrica is different from antidepressants. Stick with us till the end. 

Is Lyrica an antidepressant? 

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No, Lyrica (Pregabalin) is not an antidepressant. It was initially approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment and management of epilepsy and hence, it is classified as an antiepileptic drug or an anticonvulsant. 

However, there are several other uses of Lyrica as well. It works by blocking the voltage-gated calcium channels in your brain that are responsible for the release of a number of excitatory neurotransmitters. 

The excess of these neurotransmitters increases the electrical activity in your brain, which results in excessive neuronal firing that causes seizures. Lyrica blocks this entire activity and reduces the frequency and severity of your convulsions. 

The drug has been used for decades now and is considered a very good addition to your epilepsy treatment regimen. However, it is also associated with some side effects. Lyrica is generally well tolerated but not for everyone. 

This is exactly why you should always consult your healthcare provider before taking any medication like Lyrica. Meds that can affect your brain or your brain chemistry should only be taken when absolutely necessary. 

What conditions are treated by Lyrica? 

There are a number of conditions that are treated by Lyrica. These include:

Epilepsy 

As stated earlier, the primary use of Lyrica is the management and treatment of epileptic seizures. There are several research studies that have explained how Lyrica works for epilepsy, but there are a lot of studies which revealed that Lyrica may not be enough for the treatment of epilepsy on its own. 

Some experts believe that Lyrica can surely help reduce your symptoms and the frequency of your seizures, but this drug needs much more to cure the entire disease. It can be often paired with a strong antiepileptic drug. 

However, Lyrica needs time to work. Many research studies have indicated that this medication can take up to a week or two to make noticeable changes in your system and you should continue to take the medication for long-term management of epilepsy. 

Experts suggest that you should take Lyrica even on those days when you feel better or absolutely normal. Even if the drug causes you side effects, you should never stop taking it without your doctor’s approval. 

This is because Lyrica makes chemical changes in your brain. With time, your body becomes habitual of such changes. When you take away Lyrica too quickly, you get subjected to the disturbing symptoms associated with abrupt withdrawal of Lyrica. 

Nerve pain

Lyrica is also used in the treatment and management of nerve pain that could occur because of a number of reasons. Some of these include:

  • Nerve pain associated with diabetes 
  • Nerve pain associated with shingles
  • Nerve pain associated with spinal cord injury

Lyrica provides promising results when it comes to the management of nerve pain. According to the NHS, Lyrica works by blocking the pain mediators travelling down your spine. It actively inhibits pain messages and blocks the perception of pain. 

However, it may take a few weeks to control your pain and you may have to continue to take Lyrica for that purpose. Again, it is advised by experts here to not stop using Lyrica even on days you feel your pain isn’t that bad or when you can’t feel that. 

Lyrica can cause a number of disturbing symptoms upon abrupt withdrawal. This is why you should continue to take this medication till your doctor asks you to stop. 

For safe discontinuation of Lyrica, your doctor may suggest a proper taper schedule in which the doses are cut down gradually so that your body won’t have to face the consequences of the sudden change. 

Anxiety 

Lyrica can also be used for the treatment and management of anxiety. This is because of the mechanism of action of Lyrica. As stated earlier, Lyrica can block the release of a number of excitatory neurotransmitters like glutamate. 

These neurotransmitters are the main reason why your anxiety flares up. Lyrica helps control your anxiety by blocking these chemicals. However, you should never start taking Lyrica without your doctor’s approval. 

There are a huge number of options out there for the treatment and management of anxiety. Lyrica may not be the first choice of treatment. This is why you should tell your healthcare provider about your symptoms and you should never take more than the prescribed dose. 

What are the side effects associated with the use of Lyrica? 

Lyrica is associated with the following side effects:

  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhoea or Constipation 
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness 
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Flatulence and bloating 
  • Unusually elevated mood
  • Forgetfulness or difficulty in remembering things
  • Difficulty in speaking 
  • Difficulty in decision making 
  • Confusion 
  • Lack of confidence 
  • Impairment of motor coordination 
  • Anxiety 
  • Loss of balance
  • Muscular pain 
  • Joint pain 
  • Muscle twitching 
  • Weight gain 
  • Increased appetite 
  • Weakness 

Some rare and serious side effects include:

  • An allergic reaction, including symptoms like redness of the skin, itching, burning sensation, blisters, rashes, painful dry patches, tightness of chest, wheezing, difficulty in breathing, hoarseness etc. 
  • Swelling in different parts of the body, including the tongue, lips, gums, neck, face, throat, upper and lower extremities, etc. 
  • Muscle pain
  • Fever with or without chills

How to ensure the proper use of Lyrica? 

Ensuring the proper use of Lyrica is the main key to achieving your desired therapeutic goals. First and the most important thing is to make sure that you are not allergic to Pregabalin. 

If you exhibit any sign of an allergic reaction or any unusual side effect right after taking your first ever Lyrica dose, then Lyrica is not a good choice of medication for you. 

To prevent that from happening, you can ask your doctor or pharmacist about the excipients present in the formulation to make sure it does not contain anything that you know you’re allergic to. 

It is also extremely important to inform your doctor about all the meds you have been taking before you take Pregabalin. Medications don’t always go well together. Some meds are highly incompatible with one another. 

Some meds are incompatible in terms of the side effects as they all cause the same kind of side effects that may become too much for you to bear. This is why you should inform your doctor if you have been taking anything like:

  • Vitamin or mineral supplements
  • Hypertensives, especially ACE Inhibitors 
  • Antiarrhythmic drugs 
  • Other antiepileptics
  • Antidepressants like Monoaminoxidase inhibitors 
  • Anti-anxiety medications 
  • Antihistamines 
  • Drugs used for the treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder 
  • Sleeping pills 
  • Narcotic analgesics
  • Other controlled substances
  • Alcohol

You should definitely inform your healthcare provider if you are a heavy drinker. The concomitant use of Lyrica and alcohol can make you suffer terribly. This is because both of these meds can act as CNS depressants. 

Excessive intake of these two can induce depression and suicidal behaviour in people. It can also cause side effects like dizziness, drowsiness, fatigue, impaired senses, impaired motor coordination, confusion, inability to speak, blackouts, coma, and even death. 

This is why you should never pair these two together. If you’re an alcoholic, don’t forget to mention it to your healthcare provider. Your honesty is necessary to save your own life. 

It is also very important to inform your doctor if you’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant. In animal trials, Lyrica showed drastic effects on the growing fetus. 

The drug was found capable of reducing fertility levels in animal models and even if the process of pregnancy was carried out, the new babies were found to be defective in one or another. However, there is a lack of studies performed on humans. 

It is best to avoid the use of Lyrica if you’re pregnant. It is also important to inform your doctor if you’re a breastfeeding mother. Always make sure to monitor the side effects Lyrica is causing in you and try to manage them properly. 

If it makes you sleepy or dizzy, do not drive while the concentration of the drug is high in your body. If you begin to exhibit any sign of disturbing mental behaviour, like forgetfulness, mood swings, irritability, confusion, etc, immediately seek medical attention and inform your doctor that the medicine is causing psychological side effects. 

Conclusion 

In this blog post, we have discussed all there is to know about Lyrica. It is an antiepileptic drug which can also be used for the treatment and management of nerve pains, anxiety, and fibromyalgia. 

It works by blocking the voltage-gated calcium channels in your brain that are responsible for the release of a number of excitatory neurotransmitters. 

The excess of these neurotransmitters increases the electrical activity in your brain, which results in excessive neuronal firing that causes seizures. Make sure you ask your healthcare provider before using this medication. 

FAQs: Is Lyrica an antidepressant 

Is pregabalin better than antidepressants?

Pregabalin and antidepressants are entirely different medications and they are used for the treatment and management of different types of health conditions. However, there are some common conditions that are treated by both of these meds, like anxiety and fibromyalgia. However, there is no way to tell which one is better as some people respond well to antidepressants, while other people respond well to Pregabalin. Make sure you ask your healthcare provider before using this medication. 

What is pregabalin used for mental health?

Pregabalin can be used for mental health conditions. It works by blocking the voltage-gated calcium channels in your brain that are responsible for the release of a number of excitatory neurotransmitters. 

The excess of these neurotransmitters increases the electrical activity in your brain, which results in excessive neuronal firing that causes seizures. Lyrica blocks this entire activity and reduces the frequency and severity of your convulsions. The drug has been used for decades now and is considered a very good addition to your epilepsy treatment regimen.

Is pregabalin used as a mood stabiliser?

Pregabalin can be used for the treatment and management of anxiety. It can block the release of a number of excitatory neurotransmitters like glutamate. These neurotransmitters are the main reason why your anxiety flares up. Lyrica helps control your anxiety by blocking these chemicals. However, you should never start taking Lyrica without your doctor’s approval. However, it is not used for depression or any other mood disorder.

How effective is pregabalin for anxiety?

Pregabalin can be used for the treatment of anxiety. It can block the release of a number of excitatory neurotransmitters like glutamate. These neurotransmitters are the main reason why your anxiety flares up. Lyrica helps control your anxiety by blocking these chemicals. However, you should never start taking Lyrica without your doctor’s approval. There are a huge number of options out there for the treatment and management of anxiety. Lyrica may not be the first choice of treatment. 

What are the common side effects of Pregabalin? 

Lyrica is associated with the following side effects:

  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhoea or Constipation 
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness 
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Flatulence and bloating 
  • Unusually elevated mood
  • Forgetfulness or difficulty in remembering things
  • Difficulty in speaking 
  • Difficulty in decision making 
  • Confusion 
  • Lack of confidence 
  • Impairment of motor coordination 
  • Anxiety 
  • Loss of balance
  • Muscular pain 

References 

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