7th August, 2017

Extern, in a project supported by the Public Health Agency, has created a new booklet containing important advice and information for individuals who work with people who use the medication pregabalin. The most well-known trade name for pregabalin is Lyrica, and in Belfast, between 2011 and 2015, the number of pregabalin prescriptions issued increased by 46%.

Entitled Pregabalin: Guidance for people working with Pregabalin users, it may also be useful for advising people who overuse their prescribed amount, people who take pregabalin that isn’t prescribed for them, or for people who care about a pregabalin user. (Anyone under 16 should only use the booklet with support from a suitably qualified youth worker, social worker or addictions worker.)

Originally used to prevent focal seizures or ‘fits’ in people with epilepsy, in the last few years the number of people who are prescribed pregabalin has increased. It comes in different strengths from 25mg to 300mg capsules, and is one of the gabapentinoid family of medicines that also includes gabapentin. Most drugs that gain popularity among recreational users also get street names. ‘Budweisers’ and ‘Buds’ are common street names for pregabalin, supposedly because some 300mg capsules are red and white in colour and their effect is a bit like alcohol. Other street names include ‘Fizers’.

Extern has produced the booklet because a number of addiction services in NI say that they have had contact with people who have been struggling with their misuse of pregabalin. Hospitals have also been treating people who have taken too much pregabalin and become unwell. There has also, sadly, been a steep rise in the number of people who have died after taking pregabalin overdoses.

If you, or anyone you know, is concerned about your pregabalin use or if you would like further information or advice, please contact Extern on (028) 90 840 555 and ask to speak to a member of the Addiction Services team.

Download your copy here