Lyrica Weight Gain: Why Does It Occur And How To Avoid It?
People who are diagnosed with neuropathic pain might have heard the name Lyrica, which is one of the most prescribed medicines to treat neuropathic pain. In the context where almost 20% of the American population is being affected with neuropathic pain, Lyrica and its side effects is a relevant case of study. One of the major allegations against this medication is that it can result in weight gain from consistent usage. Much research has validated this claim because one in ten people taking Lyrica is affected by weight gain.
In the following article, you will find more details regarding the anticonvulsant drug and its medical uses. The article proceeds along with the side effects of the drug where weight gain is one of them. The crux of the article details how one gains weight after taking Lyrica and methods that can help to maintain the weight gained from Lyrica. If you or anyone you know is using this drug, dive right into the article and know more details regarding the weight gain associated with it!
Lyrica: What Is It?
Lyrica is the brand name for pregabalin which have anticonvulsant, anxiolytic, analgesic, and antiallodynic properties. Sold mainly as capsules and oral solutions, Lyrica is mainly used to treat nerve pain in adults. Pregabalin, which is the active substance in Lyrica imitates gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is an inhibitory neurotransmitter.
The basic function of an inhibitory neurotransmitter is to neutralize the transaction between the nerve cells and reduce the message. Lyrica was first medically sanctioned in 2004 and from then on it is being used as a generic medicine inside the United States. Pregabalin or Lyrica works by blocking calcium from entering the nerve cells. As a result, the nerve cells associated with pain in your brain get a delay in their whole communication.
Medical uses of Lyrica
As a generic medicine, Lyrica has been used for many purposes. These are mainly associated with relieving nerve pain in human adults.
Some of the medical uses of Lyrica are provided below:
- Seizure treatment: Studies have been made regarding the effectiveness of Lyrica as an add-on therapy to treat focal epilepsy. One such study was published in the Neuropsychiatric disease and treatment journal. The study found that Pregabalin has proven effective as an anticonvulsant based on some experiments conducted in rats that were subjected to electroshock.
- Relieves symptoms of neuropathic pain: Pregabalin is found to be effective in treating various kinds of neuropathic pain like diabetic neuropathy, central neuropathic pain, post-herpetic neuralgia, etc. As medications like gabapentin and pregabalin which are collectively known as gabapentinoids imitate the mechanism of GABA, you will feel a relaxation from the pain from nerve issues.
- Treatment for anxiety disorders: As an anxiolytic agent, Lyrica is an approved medication for Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). Studies have proven that the medication can be effective in treating sleep disorders and mood swings associated with depression.
Side effects of Lyrica ⚠️
Many side effects have been reported with the usage of Lyrica. If you experience any severe symptoms or side effects, contact your doctor immediately. Some of the side effects associated with Lyrica are provided below:
- Dizziness and confusion
- Drowsiness and clumsiness
- A sense of imbalance or coordination
- Dry mouth
- An inability to focus
- Vision blur
- Speaking issues
- Headache and fever
- Extreme sleepiness
- Memory loss
- Weight gain
Why Does Lyrica Cause Weight Gain?
A study published in Federal Practitioner in 2021 explained that there was a considerable amount of weight gain in veterans who took pregabalin or Lyrica for treating neuropathy.
Many similar studies were made which have found that the consumption of Lyrica can result in weight gain in at least one in ten people who consume this drug. Experiments have clearly shown that almost a rise in 7% of body weight happened in patients who regularly use Lyrica. Many reasons can be attributed to the fact behind the weight gain by Lyrica. Some of the ways this drug causes you to weigh are provided below:
▶ It enhances your appetite: Some people have reported a rise in their appetite after consuming the Lyrica drug. When you have an increased appetite, you naturally tend to eat more, which will lead to weight gain as a result.
▶ It makes you tired: When you are on the prescription for Lyrica, you might feel tired more than usual. This is because the medication can slow down the nerve’s activity, which will lead you to be tired as a result. If you are constantly tired, it can cause an inability to perform even basic tasks and you won’t be able to spend quality time on exercises. This can lead to weight gain.
▶ You feel more cravings: The constant usage of Lyrica can affect your cravings as it can tamper with your neurotransmitters. These unwanted cravings can lead you to unhealthy eating habits and thereby to weight gain.
▶ It disrupts your hormonal balance: There is a possibility that Lyrica can tamper with your hormones. Hormones like leptin, cortisol, ghrelin, etc can cause weight gain if a disruption in their activity happens. The research regarding how Lyrica affects your hormones is an area that is under thorough analysis and studies.
▶ You start lacking motivation: As drugs like Lyrica can affect certain parts of your brain and nerves, it can hamper the part that activates your motivation. Lyrica can affect the central nervous system and thereby you experience constant fatigue and tiredness. When you lack motivation, you won’t feel like exercising or making healthy diet choices. This can lead to weight gain.
▶ Slows down your metabolism: Being a CNS depressant, Lyrica can hamper your metabolism and can slow it down. When you have a slower metabolism, the fat-burning process will not take place properly and as a result, you will gain more weight.
Ways to avoid weight gain due to Lyrica
Medications like Lyrica which treats nerve issues can have weight gain as a side effect. Even though these medications can sustain our lives for longer times, the side effects like weight gain can cause real troubles.
Still, by choosing certain methods and lifestyle changes you can optimize the side effects and can maintain your weight.
👉 Consult your doctor regarding reducing the medicine dosage: If your doctor suggests a lesser dosage of the Lyrica medication, you can at least keep your weight gain at a balanced pace. But do not try to replace or reduce the dosage on your own.
👉 Engage in more physical activities: Spend at least 30 minutes a day for some exercise. Choose some activity like walking that won’t need much motivation or energy on your part.
👉 Stick to a balanced diet: You might feel more cravings and an increased appetite during the Lyrica intake. To counteract the effect of weight gain due to this, try to stick on to a healthy diet and meal plans.
👉 Increase your water intake: Water is an essential component if you are trying to lose weight. When you hydrate often, you will feel less tempted to have cravings and unwanted appetites.
👉 Get some quality sleep: Prioritizing your sleep will help you with managing several issues. It can make you well-rested and increase your energy and performance.
A detailed analysis of the above article can reveal that Lyrica, a popular drug prescribed for relieving neuropathic pain can cause weight gain as a side effect. Many studies and research have already validated this point. Scientifically known as pregabalin, Lyrica can be useful in treating issues like seizures, neuropathic pain, and anxiety disorders. But at the same time, it can cause considerable weight gain in these patients.
Lyrica or pregabalin causes weight gain because it alters some brain and neuron mechanisms. As a Central Nervous System depressant, it can dissuade neuron activity in the brain. This can hamper hormonal balance and certain other factors that can lead to an increase in appetite and fatigue. All these factors coupled together can lead to weight gain. By making some lifestyle changes and dietary transformations, one can deal with the weight gain caused by Lyrica.
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