Epilepsy medicine pregabalin linked to breathing problems

25 Feb 2021

The medicine pregabalin has been associated with some reports of breathing difficulties in people taking it, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said last week.

A recent European review of the safety data around pregabalin (brand name Lyrica) found that the way pregabalin affects the nervous system could cause breathing difficulties in some people.

In epilepsy, pregabalin is used as an add-on treatment for focal seizures. Some people taking this medicine may need a lower dose to reduce the risk of these side-effects.

The MHRA advises that people should speak to their doctor if they notice new or increased problems with their breathing. People should also consult a doctor or pharmacist about other medicines they take as well as pregabalin. This is because some medicines taken with pregabalin may increase the risk of breathing problems.

People should avoid drinking alcohol if taking pregabalin, the MHRA has added.

Epilepsy Action says people should not reduce or stop their medicine without speaking to their doctor first. Reducing or stopping epilepsy medicines can cause breakthrough or worsened seizures.

The MHRA has said it will include new warnings about this possible side-effect in the patient information leaflet for pregabalin.

The MHRA said the review had found a small number of cases worldwide where people experienced breathing difficulties. The majority of cases reported were in older people (over the age of 65).

People may also be more at risk if they have other underlying health problems. These include conditions affecting breathing, the kidneys or the brain.

Pregabalin is also given for pain caused by the nervous system and for anxiety disorder.

 

You may also be interested in…

Epilepsy medicines pregabalin and gabapentin to be reclassified as class C drugs to help minimise possible misuse

The UK government announced last week that the medicines pregabalin and gabapentin will be reclassified as class C under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

There are no comments yet. Be the first to comment...

Question about your epilepsy?

Your question will be sent to our helpline advisors.

Have a comment about this page?

All comments are reviewed by a moderator before publishing. Comments will be edited or deleted if they are offensive, libellous, slanderous, abusive, commercial or irrelevant.

We ask for your email when you make a comment through this website. This means that we can let you know directly that we have replied to you. By making a comment through the website, you allow us to use the comment in our publicity without using your name. If we would like to use your name, we will email you to get your permission.

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
7 + 4 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.