The Link Between Lyrica & Migraines

Updated July 19, 2017

Migraine headaches are debilitating and painful, and they affect 11 out of 100 people. There are a number of ways to manage and prevent symptoms associated with migraines, including avoiding triggers, taking over-the-counter medication at the first sign of symptoms or talking to your doctor about prescription medications. In 2005, Lyrica was approved by the FDA to treat neuropathic pain and has also proved effective in treating migraine symptoms.


Lyrica is the brand name for the medication pregabalin. Pregabalin is an anticonvulsant and is classified as a Schedule V controlled substance, which means it has the potential for addiction or abuse, but at the lowest level of this classification (it is rated with medications like codeine). By contrast, Valium is a Schedule IV substance and heroin is classified as Schedule I. Lyrica is prescribed for neuropathic pain, for fibromyalgia, for some forms of epilepsy and, more recently, for the treatment of migraines.

Symptoms and Causes of Migraine

Migraines are a common but sometimes dibilitating type of headache. Their cause is not fully understood, but some doctors believe they begin in the nerve paths of the brain, according to Google Health. Migraines can be triggered by diet, bright lights, loud noises, strong smells, alcohol, cigarettes or a lack of sleep. Symptoms include throbbing pain (generally worse on one side of the head), chills, nausea, disturbances in vision, sensitivity to light and general fatigue. Migraines are most common among women aged 20 to 50.

Treatment of Migraines

Migraines in themselves do not lead to brain tumours or other life-threatening health problems; however, they can be debilitating and affect your lifestyle. If you experience interruptive or frequent headaches and think you may be experiencing migraines, a physical examination and medical history taken by a doctor can determine if your headaches are caused by stress, tension or another more serious health problem. If you are diagnosed with migraines, there are a number of options for treatment and prevention. Depending upon the severity of your headaches, you may be able to prevent a migraine by avoiding certain foods or other triggers. In more severe or persistent cases, medication may be prescribed.


Avoiding triggers may help prevent migraines, and if your symptoms are mild, over-the-counter medication like ibuprofen or acetaminophen may be helpful. If your migraines are more severe, your doctor may prescribe a medication. One of the most common migraine medications is Topamax. This is a maintenance medicine taken regularly to prevent the onset of migraine headaches. Pregabalin (brand name Lyrica) was approved by the FDA in 2005 and is another prescription medication that has proved effective against symptoms of migraine.


Pfizer reports that Lyrica is indicated for nerve pain and fibromyalgia. Though not specifically indicated for treatment of migraines, Lyrica is effective against fibromyalgia pain, which often includes migraine or other severe headache pain. As with any medication, Lyrica may cause side effects. The side effect of Lyrica include, but are not limited to, fatigue, headache, nausea, bloating, anxiety, weight gain, swelling of the arms, hands and feet, rash or hives, shortness of breath, muscle pain and chest pain. Patients with diabetes should pay close attention to any redness or sensitivity of the skin, as Lyrica may cause skin sores. Lyrica is sometimes used as a sleep aid, which is one way it helps to manage pain; however, because it may make you drowsy; avoid dangerous activities until you know how you respond to this medication.

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About the Author

Robyn Ellis has been writing since 1999. Her work appears in "Poet Lore," "Lumina," and "Rattle" literary magazines, among other publications. She holds a Masters of Fine Arts in Writing from Emerson College and a Masters in Museum Studies from Tufts University. She currently works as a writer, editor, and museum professional.