Lyrica is a medication used for treating pain resulting from nerve damage that occurs in relation to a spinal cord injury, infection, shingles (the herpes zoster virus) or diabetes. It is also often used for treating pain in individuals who suffer from fibromyalgia.

In some situations, Lyrica is used in combination with other medications to treat certain types of seizures, which are referred to as focal seizures.

Misuse and addiction of Lyrica is a growing problem, as the medication is becoming more commonly prescribed. It is so commonly misused because the medication can help create a calm, relaxed and even euphoric state or sensation.

Article at a Glance:

  • Lyrica is used to treat pain from nerve damage after a spinal cord injury or other condition.
  • Lyrica is commonly misused because it creates a sense of relaxation and euphoria.
  • Some symptoms of Lyrica withdrawal are behavioral changes, headaches, and depression.
  • Lyrica detox may include partial hospitalization, inpatient or outpatient treatment, and a professional detox facility.
  • Clonidine and Dexmedetomidine are medications used to treat Lyrica addiction.

Can You Stop Lyrica Cold Turkey?

Stopping Lyrica (pregabalin) cold turkey may cause mild-to-moderate withdrawal symptoms even at regular doses and after short-term use (less than two months). People taking Lyrica should talk to their healthcare provider before stopping the medication. Carefully lowering the Lyrica dose under medical supervision helps avoid uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.

How To Wean Off Lyrica

Medications that cause uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, such as Lyrica, can be safely and effectively stopped by weaning off the medication under the supervision of a healthcare provider. Weaning, otherwise known as tapering, off a medication involves slowly lowering the medication dose. Medication doses can be changed up or down depending on the severity of withdrawal symptoms. It’s recommended to taper Lyrica over a minimum of one week to prevent withdrawal.

A Lyrica taper schedule can be written with the help of a healthcare provider. The taper schedule will depend on the current dose of Lyrica and the presence of withdrawal symptoms. People currently taking Lyrica at the maximum dose may take longer to wean off the medication.

  • Maximum dose: Lyrica (pregabalin) 200 mg by mouth three times a day
    • The dose is slowly lowered based on individual response and withdrawal symptoms back down to the starting dose. 
  • Starting dose: Lyrica (pregabalin) 50 mg capsule by mouth three times a day
    • The dose may continue to be tapered or stopped based on withdrawal symptoms.

Lyrica Withdrawal

Withdrawal symptoms from certain medications, like Lyrica, happen because of changes in the brain caused by the medication. For example, animal studies involving Lyrica demonstrate a decrease in the release of excitatory neurotransmitters (chemical messengers in the brain) by blocking voltage-gated calcium channels. The brain then adjusts to the decrease in neurotransmitters.

When Lyrica is suddenly stopped, the voltage-gated calcium channels are no longer blocked. The rapid increase in excitatory neurotransmitters may cause withdrawal symptoms. Slowly tapering off Lyrica allows your brain time to readjust to the change in neurotransmitter levels and can reduce withdrawal symptoms.

Lyrica Withdrawal Symptoms

If you are struggling with Lyrica addiction and stop taking it or drastically reduce the dose, it can result in severe withdrawal symptoms. In some situations, these symptoms may become life-threatening and even require medical care. The severity of the Lyrica withdrawal symptoms you experience is going to vary based on several factors, including:

  • How long the medication was used
  • The dose that was taken
  • If the person was misusing other drugs

Signs and symptoms of withdrawal from Lyrica include:

  • Behavioral changes
  • Headaches
  • Mood changes
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Confusion
  • Suicidal behavior or thoughts
  • Agitation
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Diarrhea
  • Palpitations or rapid heartbeat
  • Issues falling or staying asleep
  • Seizures

Life-threatening symptoms of Lyrica withdrawal may include: 

  • Dehydration
  • Heart problems
  • Seizures
  • Overdose
  • Suicidal thoughts

Pregabalin Withdrawal Timeline and Symptom Duration

The acute withdrawal symptoms associated with Lyrica may begin in about one to two days if the drug is stopped suddenly. Case studies report people experiencing withdrawal symptoms as soon as the second day after stopping the medication. How long Lyrica remains in your system depends on several factors, including:

  • Kidney function
  • Age
  • Body mass
  • Hydration
  • Urinary pH
  • Dosage

While the initial physical withdrawal symptoms associated with Lyrica may begin to subside, residual withdrawal symptoms may last for several weeks. In most cases, longer-lasting withdrawal symptoms seem to be psychiatric and may include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness

To help reduce the severity of pregabalin’s withdrawal symptoms, it is best for patients to slowly reduce their dose. Additionally, the symptoms mentioned above may be prolonged or pronounced in individuals who have been using large amounts of the medication or have taken it over a long period.

Managing Withdrawal Symptoms of Lyrica (Pregabalin)

Several methods can be used to help manage the withdrawal symptoms associated with coming off Lyrica. However, because no formal protocol has been established for the treatment of Lyrica addiction, there are unique options offered by doctors and treatment facilities.

Lyrica Detox

For those facing Lyrica addiction, a detox program can be extremely beneficial. This can help provide a comfortable and safe withdrawal period, which will start the recovery process. After the detox and withdrawal period, it is important for the individual recovering from Lyrica addiction to participate in a formal addiction treatment program. This will help increase the potential of the individual achieving long-term recovery.

There are several options for Lyrica detox and treatment, with some of the most popular including:

  • A professional detox facility
  • Inpatient or outpatient treatment
  • Partial hospitalization

Several medications can also be used for treating and easing the withdrawal symptoms associated with Lyrica addiction. Some medications used include:

  • Clonidine: Typically used for treating high blood pressure, it can also have a mild sedative effect.
  • Dexmedetomidine: This medication has similar effects to clonidine.

How To Choose a Treatment Center

It can be difficult and overwhelming to navigate all the available addiction treatment options on your own. But the first step on the journey to recovery is getting to know what options are available. Selecting the right detoxification center is a crucial part of this process. With the help of experienced professionals and access to a full continuum of care at The Recovery Village, recovery from Lyrica addiction is possible. If you or a loved one is struggling with Lyrica addiction, contact us today to start on the path to lasting recovery.

Editor – Abby Doty
Abby Doty graduated from Hamline University in 2021 with a Bachelor's in English and Psychology. She has written and edited creative and literary work as well as academic pieces focused primarily on psychology and mental health. Read more
Medically Reviewed By – Elizabeth Cambria

Barrett, Jaclyn A., et al. “Acute Pregabalin Withdrawal: A Case Report and Review of the Literature.”“> “Acut[…]iterature.” Southwest Journal of Pulmonary, Critical Care & Sleep, May 29, 2015. Accessed August 4, 2022.

Cross, A.L., et al. “Pregabalin.”“>“Pregabalin.” StatPearls, July 19, 2022. Accessed August 4, 2022.

Food and Drug Administration. “PREGABALIN capsules, for oral use, CV.”“>“PREGA[…]l use, CV.” February 2022. Accessed August 4, 2022.

Ishikawa, Hayahito, et al. “Pregabalin withdrawal in patients without psychiatric disorders taking a regular dose of pregabalin: A case series and literature review.”“> “Preg[…]re review.” Neuropsychopharmacology, August 12, 2021. Accessed August 4, 2022.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.