Does Lyrica Cause Weight Gain? Other Side Effects

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Lyrica is a drug used to treat seizures, fibromyalgia, and various types of nerve pain. It works by calming overactive nerves in the body. While Lyrica is effective for pain relief, it’s also associated with some side effects. One key question many users have is whether Lyrica leads to weight gain.

This article explores this concern. It looks into how common weight gain is with Lyrica and the possible reasons behind it. We will also explore other Lyrica side effects and how to manage them effectively.

What is Lyrica? How Does It Work?

Uses of Lyrica

Lyrica is a medication primarily used to prevent seizures, as it helps control brain activities that can lead to them. It’s effective in calming nerves in the body that are too active, besides helping with nerve pain. Additionally, it affects brain chemicals that affect how we feel pain.

It’s commonly prescribed for relieving pain associated with diabetes, shingles, and spinal cord injuries. While these are its main uses, Lyrica might also be prescribed for other conditions.

Lyrica functions by slowing down brain impulses that cause seizures and influencing neurotransmitters in the brain that send pain signals across the nervous system. It’s particularly effective for nerve pain associated with diabetes, shingles, and spinal cord injuries.

Uses of Lyrica

  • Nerve Pain from a Spinal Cord Injury: Lyrica provides relief for nerve pain due to spinal cord injuries, aiding in cases caused by accidents or sports injuries.
  • Nerve Pain After Shingles: Lyrica is prescribed for nerve pain after a shingles infection characterized by a painful rash and blisters.
  • Diabetic Nerve Pain: Lyrica treats nerve pain from diabetes, often causing symptoms like numbness and tingling in hands and feet.
  • Partial Onset Seizures: Lyrica is used with other medications to treat partial onset seizures affecting brain activity.

Does Lyrica Cause Weight Gain?

When you use Lyrica, you might gain weight. This is more likely if you take it for a long time or at higher doses. Even though this weight gain doesn’t immediately affect blood pressure or blood sugar, its long-term effects are unknown.

Lyrica can also cause swelling in your arms and legs, which might increase weight gain. Plus, it can make you hungrier, leading to eating more and gaining weight. The following may be the reasons for weight gain while taking Lyrica:

1. Appetite Changes: Lyrica can increase appetite. You’ll likely eat more when you feel hungrier, leading to weight gain.

2. Metabolism Slowdown: Some believe Lyrica may slow down metabolism, though this isn’t conclusively proven.

3. Fluid Retention: Lyrica can cause edema or fluid retention, which can add extra weight.

4. Reduced Physical Activity: For some, the relief from pain might lead to reduced physical activity, contributing to weight gain.

How Common is Weight Gain with Lyrica?

Research has shown that weight gain is a possible side effect of Lyrica. The occurrence varies, but it’s reported that between 1% to 10% of Lyrica users experience weight gain. This percentage can vary based on individual factors like dosage, duration of use, and lifestyle.

Managing Weight Gain: If you’re taking Lyrica and concerned about weight gain, there are several strategies you can adopt:

Monitor Your Diet: Pay attention to your diet. Include a balanced diet comprising fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains.

Regular Exercise: Integrate regular physical activity into your routine. Even light exercises like walking can help.

Stay Hydrated: Water can help manage hunger and reduce fluid retention. Drink plenty, at least 8-12 glasses a day.

Consult a Dietitian: If you’re struggling with diet management, consider consulting a dietitian.

Regular Medical Check-ups: Keep up with regular medical check-ups to monitor your weight and discuss any concerns with your doctor.

Lyrica’s Other Side Effects

Lyrica has various side effects. They differ in how often they occur and how severe they are.

👉 Dizziness And Drowsiness: These are common. You may feel dizzy or drowsy, especially at the start of treatment or after a dose increase.

👉 Dry Mouth: Your mouth might be unbelievably dry. This may be annoying and affect your desire for food or taste. A prominent side effect is swelling of the hands, legs, or feet. It can be painful and may limit the movement.

👉 Blurred Vision: Several patients suffer from vision that is obscured or modified. This can affect activities such as reading or driving.

👉 Difficulty Concentrating: You might need help to concentrate or pay attention. This may affect your daily routine or work.

👉 Headaches: Headaches can develop from mild to severe.

👉 Nausea And Constipation: These gastrointestinal disorders can negatively influence appetite and general comfort.

👉 Allergic Reactions: Lyrica, like many drugs, can cause allergic reactions in some people. These reactions can be mild to severe. They might include a skin rash, itching, and redness in your skin. Swelling may happen in parts of your body, like your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet. Your mouth, tongue, or throat may swell, making breathing difficult.

If these side effects bother or persist, talk with a healthcare professional. It is advisable. They can assist in dealing with the side effects and, if needed, change your treatment plan.

👉 Balancing Benefits And Side Effects: When considering Lyrica, weighing its benefits against potential side effects is important. For many people, Lyrica helps with pain and improves life. But if you start worrying about weight gain or other side effects, you should talk to your doctor.

👉 Alternatives To Lyrica: If weight gain is a significant concern, there are alternatives to Lyrica. Other medications for nerve pain or epilepsy might not have the same impact on weight. It’s important to discuss these options with your doctor.

Final Result

In short, Lyrica works well for some health issues, but it can also lead to weight gain and other side effects. It’s important to keep this in mind. If you’re using Lyrica and worried about these side effects, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor. They can help you figure out what’s best for you. That might mean continuing with Lyrica or trying a different treatment.

Resources

  1. Medline Plus. (2020, May 15). Pregabalin: MedlinePlus Drug Information. Medlineplus.gov. https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a605045.html
  2. Poppen, H. (2021). Weight Gain in Veterans Taking Duloxetine, Pregabalin, or Both for the Treatment of Neuropathy. Federal Practitioner, 38 No. 5. https://doi.org/10.12788/fp.0111
  3. Hoppe, C., Rademacher, M., Hoffmann, J. M., Schmidt, D., & Elger, C. E. (2008). Bodyweight gain under pregabalin therapy in epilepsy: Mitigation by counseling patients? Seizure, 17(4), 327–332. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.seizure.2007.10.004

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Dr. David G Kiely is a distinguished Medical Reviewer and former General Medicine Consultant with a wealth of experience in the field. Dr. Kiely's notable career as a General Medicine Consultant highlights his significant contributions to the medical field.

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