Gabapentin and Pregabalin – questions to ask yourself

Are you taking Gabapentin or Pregabalin to help with your pain? If so, ask yourself these questions:

If you are experiencing persistent pain and answered ‘yes’ to any of the questions above, then read on . . .

How effective are gabapentinoids?

  • 5 in every 10 people taking a gabapentinoid for nerve pain will not get any benefit at all
  • Even those who don’t get any benefit will still experience side effects
  • If you have pain that is not caused by nerve damage or from a change in how the nerve works, gabapentinoids are very unlikely to be of any help to you
  • 1 in every 3 people taking gabapentinoids will get side effects that stop them using the medicine

What about the side effects?

There are lots of possible side effects.
The most common, experienced by up to 6 in every 10 people are:
  • Problems with thinking clearly
  • Dizziness, problems walking
  • Tiredness
  • Tremors (shaking)
  • Weight gain, water retention or bloating
  • Changes in mood and emotions, includes depression
  • Headache or vision changes
Taking gabapentinoids with drugs like codeine and morphine also increases the risk of breathing problems and accidental overdose.


Are they the right treatment for me?

Has your pain reduced since starting or increasing the dose of the gabapentinoid?
Are you doing more or recovering faster from activity than before you started taking the medicine?
If you do not think the medicines are helping, then you are probably better off trying to slowly reducing them, with the support of your healthcare team.
Even people who think they might be better using a gabapentinoid should reduce the dose from time to time, to see if the medicines really are helping or if they get the same benefit on a smaller dose.



So how do I reduce them?

Gabapentinoids should always be reduced slowly and with support. You may need to have different strengths of capsules/tablets to enable you to do this.
If you want to reduce your use of Gabapentin or Pregabalin make an appointment with a member of your healthcare team to discuss making changes to your gabapentinoid medicines.


Learn more, with Ten Footsteps

You can find out more about medicines for people living with persistent pain, in Ten Footsteps to Living Well with Pain, our step-by-step guide to pain self-management