Pregabalin is a new drug licensed for the treatment of neuropathic pain in adults. If you have diabetes it is likely that the reason for your needing this medication is painful diabetic neuropathy. Pregabalin was approved for use in Europe in July 2004.
Pregabalin is available in capsules of 25, 50, 75, 100, 150, 200 and 300 mg. The capsules used to start treatment in Diabetic neuropathy are likely to be of the 75 mg strength.
The starting dose of Pregabalin is 75 mg twice daily. If the response is not adequate and this dose is well tolerated, it may be increased to 150 mg twice daily after a week and upto a maximum of 300 mg twice daily after a further week. These changes must only be made on the advice of your doctor. The maximum licensed dose is 600 mg per day.
At all dosing levels the cost of a months treatment is £64 to the NHS.
Neuropathic pain can be very difficult to relieve. The symptoms are often characterized by sensations of burning, stabbing, numbness or tingling either in the feet or legs. Conventional painkillers are often of little help. You may find a reduction in pain levels which allows you to cope better with the problem.
The most common side effects are dizziness, drowsiness and fatigue. This may affect your ability to drive. Confusion and irritability have been reported. Blurred vision or double vision may occur. Dry mouth, constipation nausea and flatulence. Appetite and weight may increase. Side effects with Pregabalin are often related to the size of the dose and are usually mild to moderate in severity.
It is recommended that Pregabalin is discontinued gradually if required. A minimum of one week is advised.
Dr Nishan Wijenaike
West Suffolk Hospitals NHS Trust
Bury St Edmunds