Pregabalin is a class C drug which is used to treat anxiety, epilepsy, nerve (neuropathic) pain and joint/back pain. The vast majority of patients are using it as prescribed by their GP and are not over using or misusing it. Pregabalin has many side effects including weight gain, muddled thoughts, clumsiness, drowsiness, swelling of limbs, chest pain and wheezing. It is not intended for long term use and should be reviewed regularly to review side effects and to ensure it is easing symptoms.
Over recent years there have been concerns regarding it's addictive nature. Known as street names 'Buds' or 'Budweisers', Pregabalin addiction has become a problem in Northern Ireland, particularly affecting our community here in West Belfast. This BBC3 programme Belfast Buds highlights how common Pregabalin addiction is and it's impact on those addicted and on the wider community. There were 33 reported Pregabalin related deaths in Northern Ireland in 2017. Pregabalin can cause drowsiness, sedation and can stop you breathing. If taken with strong painkillers(tramadol/fentanyl/morphine/oxycontin), alcohol, diazepam or other street drugs these dangerous side effects may be more likely to occur.
For these reasons we have taken the decision to review all patients currently prescribed Pregabalin for pain.
Pregabalin Reduction Programme
We are currently reviewing all our patients who are taking Pregabalin for pain.
If you are taking Pregabalin you will be contacted by letter informing you when your review will take place.
You will receive a personalised reduction plan.
It is important that you do not stop Pregabalin suddenly as this may cause withdrawal side effects.
If you are concerned about Pregabalin and would like to stop this drug please contact the surgery and we will arrange a review with a GP or Practice Pharmacist.
Please view video below for an audio version of our Pregabalin factsheet:
If you are suffering from pain please visit our Chronic Pain Section for help and advice.
If you or someone you know may be addicted to Pregabalin please visit our Mental Health Support section for help and advice.