Pain Management Community
Pregabalin (Lyrica) tolerance
About This Community:

This patient support community is for discussions relating to pain management, chronic pain, arthritis, back pain, cancer, headaches, movement disorders pain, and muscle pain.

Font Size:
A
A
A
Background:
Blank
Blank
Blank
Blank Blank

Pregabalin (Lyrica) tolerance

It is said in the Pfizer literature that Lyrica doesn't suffer from tolerance build up in patients on it for the long term. I would like to know if anyone else has felt like they are developing tolerance to Lyrica, and particularly useful would be any links to articles discussing this issue. A bit of background:

I have been on Lyrica for about 5-6 months (at 600mg/day for around 4 months) for chronic pain in the upper back - T5. Lyrica is my only prescription pain relief. It has worked quite well until recently; as some of the last remaining side effects have faded away, so too has its effectiveness. Through some experimenting with dose I have found that decreasing my dose to 300mg/day leads to a marked increase in pain, particularly in places that were free of pain *before* I had ever tried Lyrica. The pain is particularly brutal in the joints - knees, elbows, fingers - and it feels like a cross between bad arthritis and having needles stuck into the bone; most bizarre. Even after several days at the reduced dose I still copped these adverse pain effects. On the other hand, if I lift the dose to 900mg/day taken as three 300mg doses, my pain is reduced to an acceptable level - about the same level as when I originally went to 600mg/day. Lifting the dose has not caused any increase in side effects, as far as I can tell. Finally, I have discovered that individual doses of less than 300mg fail to provide relief - I have no idea why that is.

Any comments about other people's experience with regards to tolerance much appreciated.
Related Discussions
8 Comments Post a Comment
Blank
547368_tn?1332173665
Hi OtisDaMan,

It's good to "see" you again. You have been missed on this forum. I am sorry that the Lyrica appears to be less effective for you. Have you thought of the possibility that your condition may be getting worse instead of the medication not being as effective?

That said, it makes sense to me that you may become tolerant of any medication, rather it's an opiate or not. I have not looked into this but I will. If I discover information that indicates you may develop a tolerance I will re-post on your thread.

I hope you will be able to control your pain soon. Please keep us updated and let us know how you are doing. Peace, Tuck
Blank
547368_tn?1332173665
Hey Otis,

From the "RX List. The Intenet Drug Index"
"LYRICA is not known to be active at receptor sites associated with drugs of abuse. As with any CNS active drug, physicians should carefully evaluate patients for history of drug abuse and observe them for signs of LYRICA misuse or abuse (e.g., development of tolerance, dose escalation, drug-seeking behavior."

I have been doing some searching, as I said I would. I have found numerous posts on tolerance. And as you can see even some of the litature discusses tolerance. So I do beleive as with most medications, your body can build a tolerance to Lyrica. In CP sufferes I don't think it has a thing to do with misuse, abuse or drug seeking behavior. It's just our bodies building a tolerance.

I hope this information was helpful. Peace, Tuck
Blank
591295_tn?1293848852
Thanks for that, Tuck.

I've had a look through PubMed database to see if there have been scientific studies specifically on the question of tolerance, but without joy. As far as I can tell, the main assumption/claim is that because pregabalin is not known to be metabolically active (ie, the liver and body don't metabolise it into other molecules) the patient shouldn't develop tolerance.

I am now a bit more sceptical of that claim. That same claim would imply that side-effects (ie the effects other than the main-effect of pain relief)  should stay relatively constant too - which is contradicted by the fact that side-effects do generally fade over time. My reasoning is that since most side-effects diminish over time (eg a month or so), the human body must be adapting to the pregabalin in some manner.  The scientific literature about pregabalin is largely silent on whether this can also happen with the main-effect of pain relief.

I'm pretty sure that my condition isn't worsening at the moment, although it is a possibility. Anyway, it is a sunny day here, so I'm off to walk the dog.

All the best,  OtisDaMan
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
Hi there!

OtisDaMan, I agree with your idea that folks can experience symptoms of tolerance with Lyrica. I am having almost something analogous. I am taking Lyrica for sleep problems, and after a brief honeymoon where I slept blissfully a few nights, my problems have returned. An accompany disorder - central sensitization for itching - has also been impacted. I am MORE itchy now than I had been previously. Lyrica was affecting both of them temporarily and then lost its effect. But the pinprick sensation is new, and somewhat frightening. What is interesting to me is that I don't take Lyrica for pain - I have chronic itching, coughing and sleep arousal. So my thinking is that the pinprick sensation must be due to other aspect of tolerance and not just a return of the former pain.

I have seen the literature about Lyrica and the fact that the drug company does not think there is evidence for tolerance. What I think Pfizer is avoiding is confronting the concept of neural plasticity. (Doctors on the other hand, are only beginning to be introduced to it if they are not in the field of neurology) Here's the main idea: the action of chemicals in our bodies is not static, but dynamic. This is particularly true of chemicals that act on our central nervous system. Our bodies are constantly trying to update and correctly regulate our sensory experiences and in particular the experiences of pain, coughing, sleep arousal, itching and sensitivity to cold, which are hugely important to our survival. It is not in the interest of Pfizer to examine too closely the fact that in face of neural plasticity and the forces of adaptation, all their best pharmacology can be pretty puny and may even go for naught.

Anyway, I have gotten profoundly discouraged about ************** for my nervous system woes. I am glad I have been able to read posts here at MedWatch. Thanks.
Blank
712802_tn?1274649085
I agree with what everyone is saying - I have been taking Lyrica off and on for several years (began as soon as it was approved for use in the US when ever that was). Pfizer also claims there is no withdrawl (withdrawal) from stopping Lyrica, but I have stopped it twice and both times I had what I consider to be noticeable withdrawl (withdrawal). The prickly skin feeling, feeling flush, etc. it's really kind of hard to describe, but definately not pleasant. So,it makes sense to me that the body might also build up a tolerance to the medication.
Otis, I hope you get things worked out and feel better.
Blank
541953_tn?1262589826
I took Lyrica for 8 months at a rather low dose 75 mgs 3 xday. I didnt build up a tolerance but couldnt take it for the side effects...my hands and feet swelled and I gained like 35 pounds.I know if the meds work.. live with the side effects but I had to have my rings forced off twice and just couldnt take it...I know the pharmacist told me it was a controlled substance so I think you would become tolerante to it...just my two cents worth...have you discussed this with your doctor? I would think it would be time to up your dose... hope you feel better soon, take care...
Blank
667015_tn?1268599078
Hi I take Lyrica along with other meds for pain reduction. I do know that the Lyrica helps but you have to remember that with almost any drug there is a limit to how much relefie it will give. I take 250mg 2x//day me and my Dr have done what you did, increase and decrease my dosage to find the MAX and mine was 250 2x/day any more than that I do not get any more releife and any less I have more pain. I have also noticed new pain mainly knee pain that I get in the mornings it feels like my knee is being ripped apart and any movement makes it worse, but if I push through the pain and start moving it alot the pain goes away, I do feel that it is the Lyrica doing this but there is no support for it. I am thinking of having my Dr switch me from Lyrica to Norotin ( i think thats the spelling ) it is from what my Dr has told me that same a Lyrica but there are different side affects. Any way I do know that you are not at a tolerance of the Lyrica but at the max effectiveness that the drug can give you. Talk to your Dr about it but I would not mention to him/her about you taking more of the drug, without his/her permission as they may see this as a problem. You can say that you forgot to take it and noticed that you had more pain and mabey that if you took more it might help more, but again DO NOT tell them that you are changing your doseage without them knowing and allowing it.


R/
Adam
Blank
591295_tn?1293848852
Hi HtS,

Thanks for posting. I just reread your post and noticed your comment about the pain in the knees, like I have. I too am fairly convinced that it is the pregabalin - I have been using walking (5 - 10km per day) as exercise for more than 10 years, and have *never* had pain quite like this before. It just seems too coincidental with my starting pregabalin.
As well as that, all joints that have had any arthritic pain at all in the past are often painful in the morning prior to my first pregabalin dose.
Blank
Post a Comment
To
Blank
Weight Tracker
Weight Tracker
Start Tracking Now
Pain Management Community Resources
RSS Expert Activity
233488_tn?1310696703
Blank
New Cannabis Article from NORTH Mag...
Jul 20 by John C Hagan III, MD, FACS, FAAOBlank
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
3 Reasons Why You are Still Binge E...
Jul 14 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
Emotional Eating: What Your Closet ...
Jul 09 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
Top Pain Answerers
535089_tn?1400677119
Blank
Mollyrae
WI
7721494_tn?1405368662
Blank
philnoir
Front Range, CO
1193998_tn?1265121197
Blank
carolanivey
OH
1855076_tn?1337118903
Blank
marycarmel
MA
Avatar_m_tn
Blank
trixy71
Avatar_f_tn
Blank
Weathergirl21