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vakularen, Other
Category: Neurology
Satisfied Customers: 4057
Experience:  practising medicine since last 35 years.
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A question regarding the possible adverse term effects from

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A question regarding the possible adverse long term effects from a few days of taking pregabalin and alcohol at high doses. So about 4 months ago someone gave me 15 300 mg lyrica capsules. At the time I thought that they were just a very similar alternative to benzodiazepines, which I had usedvery occasionally with no problems whatsoever. I ended up taking about 7 or 8 of them within 2 or 3 days (because of the drug I really have no idea when I took them or how many I took at a time) but I think I can assume that my maximum dosage would have been about 3 at a time (900mg). I also drank copious amounts of alcohol on a few of those nights. I threw the rest of the pills away after reading an article describing Lyrica's adverse effects on neuroplasticity and synapse formation. The next few days I started to realise that my short term memory was completely and utterly ruined. I was getting lost everywhere, losing everything and couldn't for the life of me remember new aquaintences' names. I kept drinking most nights after this but at much lower quantities (maybe maximum 3-4 drinks a night).These effects lasted to some extent a good 2 weeks after that, and I would also have this strange kind of retrograde amnesia whereby I'd completely forget an hour or so before going to sleep, but that only happened a few times and never happened again after about 3 weeks.Over the next few weeks and months these effects have certainly diminished and my memory and cognitive functions have definitely improved, but I've still developed this sense of anxiety that I may have permanently messed with my head. I'm starting to think my long term memory may have somewhat suffered, which I believe is linked to synaptic plasticity. My memories from a few days ago feel far more distant than they were and it seems harder to place them on a timeline, however I can't quite tell if my memory was like that before or not, or if it could somehow be attributed to the rather significant levels of stress I've been going through this past week. Could such a short lyrica and alcohol binge really affect my brain's neuroplasticity or anything else to a significant extent? Or am I just letting anxiety get the better of me and I haven't a clue what I'm talking about? These past few days I've been researching the drug a lot and I've seen some truly disturbing horror stories, like people claiming to have had irreversible vision and cognitive function damage after taking the drug for just 20 days.I started taking omega 3 supplements a little over a month ago, and I've started taking thiamine just today. I'm a 19 year old male who has some issues with anxiety and depression, which have obviously worsened because of this. I would appreciate a rather in-depth and technical answer to this, as I do have some knowledge in the area and I'm starting psychology and neuroscience degree soon. Thanks.
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Neurology
Expert:  Dr. Phil, MD replied 11 months ago.

Hi, this is Dr Phil, here to assist you. I am Board Certified with over 10 years of experience. I will respond with my answer shortly. Thank you.

Expert:  Dr. Phil, MD replied 11 months ago.

I'm sorry I will opt out for another expert

Expert:  vakularen replied 11 months ago.

Hello,I am Dr. Aren and I will help with your query.Pregabalin in higher doses does cause impaired memory,sleepiness,dizziness and anxiety. If taken with alcohol,it may cause confusion,ataxia ,loss of control,abnormal thinking,blurred vision or diplopia/double vision and negative thoughts.The high doses will probably not cause any permanent damage,the upper limit for Lyrica is usually 600 mgms. Occasionally it may start of a panic attack if used along with alcohol.I feel that no permanent damage would have been caused,but intermixing of the two should be avoided as a rule.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
you think theres no reason that my memory should be any different to how it was before?
Expert:  vakularen replied 11 months ago.

Alcohol binges and use of high doses of pregabalin may cause amnesia for a short while(the exact no of days/weeks is debatable),but permanent damage is unlikely.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Thanks for your answers. Do you think you could possibly go into a little more detail about why the pregabalin causes such amnesia, and also why it isn't permanent and how the brain recovers. Sorry to ask so much it's just I'm still feeling very anxious about this. Also why do you think I keep seeing anecdotal evidence online from people complaining about permanent memory loss and cognitive difficulties etc? Thanks
Expert:  vakularen replied 11 months ago.

I am using Pregabalin extensively in my practice but at lower doses,it usually needs to be used for long periods like a couple of years in cases of neuropathic pain and radiculitis secondary to Intervertebral disc disease.I have yet to see a case of real amnesia,there are some cognitive problems like increased sleepiness,drowsiness,co-ordination issues and the like but they usually settle down after a couple of weeks.I do not think that high doses for such a short while will cause serious damage or problems.

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