My first three months of Pregabalin Lyrica Experiences Side Effects Facial Hair Growth

My first 3 Months of Pregabalin & Turning Into a Gorilla!

Hi guys!  How are you?  Let me know in the comments, I want to know! 🙂  I thought it might be interesting to blog about my first three months of taking Pregabalin.  I know it can be helpful for those deciding whether to take it, to read others’ experiences.  In my experience, the side effects they tell you about officially aren’t necessarily the only ones.  Actually talking to other people who take it, there are so many common side effects not even listed!  

By the way, I’m in the UK but if you’re reading from another country, Pregabalin may also be called Lyrica.

My first three months of Pregabalin Lyrica Experiences Side Effects Facial Hair Growth

What is Pregabalin?

I started taking Pregabalin in mid-June this year.  I was prescribed it by my pain clinic, to help with my chronic pain (caused by ME and fibromyalgia).  Pregabalin was actually initially intended to treat certain types of seizures in people with epilepsy.  I believe it is still  used for that, but is also now approved to treat pain.

Pregabalin is prescribed for fibromyalgia and other types of chronic pain, including neuropathic pain (pain from damaged nerves).  It is in a class of medications called anti-convulsants.  Apparently, it works by decreasing the pain signals sent from the body to the brain.

The manufacturers say: “Pregabalin may help control your symptoms but will sadly not cure your condition.  It may take several weeks or longer before you feel the full benefit.  Do not stop taking Pregabalin without talking to your doctor, even if you experience side effects such as unusual changes in behavior or mood.  If you suddenly stop taking it, you may experience withdrawal symptoms, including trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, nausea, diarrhea, headaches, or seizures.  Your doctor will probably decrease your dose gradually over at least one week.”


My First Week of Pregabalin

I was started on a low dose of Pregabalin, which is usually the case for everyone.  The reasons are that it gets your body used to the drug and reduces potential side effects.  But also, it means by slowly increasing the dose, you can find what dose works for you, without going way too high straight away, when you could potentially be taking less.

I started on 50mg twice a day for the first few weeks.  Whilst I am discussing my dosage, it’s really important to remember that this was prescribed for my specific set of circumstances and may not suit you.  Always take your doctor’s advice on dosage for YOU!  I took one after breakfast, and one after eating dinner.  I think they generally say to avoid taking it on an empty stomach, although a lot of people I know seem to take a dose at night, so I don’t know!

My only real side effects during the first week were drowsiness and being a bit giggly!  I am always exhausted, but definitely slept more and was a bit ‘out of it’ during my first week.  It passed pretty quickly though, so wasn’t too problematic.  The giggliness seemed to happen half an hour or so after taking the tablets, and I seemed to find everything a bit amusing and get giddy!  It was actually quite a pleasant side effect so I’m not complaining there! 😀

I felt no difference in my pain levels.


My Next Dosage Increase: 1 Month

At the one month point, I was increased to 75mg twice a day (same times). This was a fairly low increase, at my request.  I’m ill enough without dealing with bad side effects!  I also personally really want to find the lowest dose I can, that helps the pain.  I didn’t really have any noticeable side effects.  The one thing I did notice though is that I was sleeping better at night.  This is a huge plus for me, as I struggle to sleep a lot due to pain and a messed up body clock!

Again, unfortunately I had no improvement in my pain levels.


Second Dosage Increase: 2 Months

My next increase (and current dosage) was to remain at 75mg in the morning but to take 2x 75mg tablets in the evening.  Again, I’ve had no awful side effects apart from one annoying one, which I’ll go into later!  One thing I noticed is that it does help me ‘go to the toilet’ more regularly, which as someone with IBS Type C (constipation) is great!  Gabapentin did the same thing when I used to take that.  I guess if you don’t have constipation, that could be a problem, but for me it’s a benefit haha!

I’ve mostly been sleeping a lot better, which is an absolute godsend!  I still have some crappy nights where I’m awake until 5am but not as often as before.

Unfortunately, I STILL have no pain relief from the Pregabalin!


Third Dosage Increase: 3 Months

I am awaiting a call from my doctor about my next dosage increase, which will start next week.  I would imagine he might add in another 75mg tablet in the morning, but I’m not sure yet.  I’d hoped I’d feel a decrease in my pain by now, so I’m getting a little frustrated.  [Edited to add: as of 11 Oct, my dose has increased to 150mg morning and evening.  I’ll let you know if it helps!]


Pregabalin Experiences Lyrica Experiences Side Effects

The Big Side Effect… Hair Growth!

Ok, so this is the side effect I mentioned earlier.  I haven’t really had any other unpleasant side effects, but this one is pretty darn annoying!  After about a month of being on the Pregabalin, I noticed I had facial hair in places I’d literally never had anything before.  It wasn’t really visible, and was quite soft, but was very obvious to the touch.  I couldn’t believe how much peach fuzz had appeared out of nowhere!

I had brand new hair growth on my forehead, cheeks/side of face and chin, where I have literally never had any noticeable hair before, ever.  My hair line also extended a bit further forward than usual around my temple areas.  I kind of hoped it would disappear once my body got used to the medication, but that wasn’t the case.  After two months, I gave in and had to deal with it!  I had my whole face threaded (and it hurt like hell!) – nothing like how painless it is to have your brows done!  The women even said to me, in broken English, “so much hair”, whilst looking surprised, haha!

I was hoping once I had it threaded off, it wouldn’t grow back as my body was used to the Pregabalin.  That wasn’t the case!  It grew back exactly the same, so I’m guessing it’s going to be a long-term thing.  The only plus side is that my eyelashes have grown too – they’re definitely longer than before.  Silver linings, and all that!

Interestingly, hair growth isn’t officially listed as a side effect of Pregabalin.  However, I have posted in chronic illness groups on Facebook and spoken to other spoonies taking it on Twitter.  It is definitely something that happens and isn’t uncommon.  Strange that it’s not listed, but it doesn’t surprise me.  Actual ‘on the ground’ experience of meds is often different from what the leaflets tell you. [Edited to add: since posting this, even more people have told me they’ve experienced facial hair growth too!]


My Overall Experience of Pregabalin

I think I’ll have to reserve my judgment for now.  Obviously turning into a gorilla isn’t the most fun thing ever!  But then at least I haven’t had any other nasty side effects.  I am really appreciating the better sleep, as it makes a huge difference in dealing with my ME.  It also makes it easier to cope with pain, when you’ve had some rest.  Saying that, I had hoped to feel a decrease in my chronic pain by now.  I am willing to keep increasing my dose and see what happens.  I’m still on a relatively low to mid dose at the moment, so perhaps on a higher dose, it’ll help my pain.  I’ll keep you updated as to what happens in the next few months!


Have you taken/are you taking Pregabalin?  Does it help your pain?  Have you had any hairy side effects?  Let me know in the comments!

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42 thoughts on “My first 3 Months of Pregabalin & Turning Into a Gorilla!

  1. Emma says:

    Hello lovely,

    Thank you for sharing this. I’m sure others who are going through the same experience will appreciate this post and knowing that they’re not alone.

    After months of being in agony and not knowing what was wrong my friend has now had a diagnosis of fibromyalgia so I am hoping your posts will help to understand it a bit more…I’m also learning so much more from your blog, so, thank you.

    I hope things start to improve and continue to make a difference with the medication you’re on.
    I completely understand the struggle of trying to find the right medication and having to deal with a collection of side effects.

    Keep being wonderful and an inspiration and best of luck. xxx

    • Katie Cupcake - Life with ME says:

      Hi Emma! Thank you so much for reading and commenting, I really appreciate your kind comments! You sound like such a lovely, supportive friend. I know your friend will really appreciate you making the effort to educate yourself on fibromyalgia, so you can understand what she’s going through. Not many people are so supportive 🙂 Thank you so much, my dose is going up again today, so fingers crossed! Thank you again xx

    • Chloe-Emma says:

      I was on pregabalin for at least four years. I only have come off due to pregnancy 🙁 I was on 300mg at night and 150 mg in the morning.
      Honestly it changed my life! I could get out of bed, plan things (and actually follow through most of the time). I could move and be social. My pain was much lower then it was and is now.
      My side effects took a few months to happen, weight gain. And then getting it off or stopping it from increasing, that was a huge challenge. Honestly, I can not wait until I can go back on it, it helped so much.

  2. HayleyLoves says:

    My neurologist has just prescribed this for me! I have nerve damage due to IIH and I was so happy to be given something for the pain that might actually help. Although I am really worried about the hair growth side effect as another one of my meds has given me that. I suppose I can try it and see what happens.

    I find posts like this really helpful. Thanks for posting 🙂 xo

    • Katie Cupcake - Life with ME says:

      Oh really? Well fingers crossed for you hun, I really hope it helps your pain. To be honest, now that I’ve bought a facial epilator, it’s not too much of a problem. I can get rid of the hair in 5 mins and it’s fairly painless. Thank god for that, as I was paying £25 per full face threading session before!! Good luck hun xx

  3. Sarah says:

    Hi, interesting to hear someone else’s take on this drug. I’ve been taking lyrica for years… Literally. I was prescribed it for nerve pain and while it doesn’t magic it away it does take the edge off and make things manageable. The big thing that I notice is a good nights sleep. If I miss my bedtime dose then I definately don’t sleep as well, and if I sleep better then I function better during the day and have less pain. No hair growth here though – guess I’m lucky! Sarah X

    • Katie Cupcake - Life with ME says:

      Hey Sarah! Thank you so much for reading and commenting. I’m glad to hear it’s working so well for you. How long did it take until you felt some pain relief? Yeah I do have to say, it’s definitely helped my sleep, which is huge. Lucky you that you’re not getting hair growth, it’s not fun haha! xx

  4. Sue says:

    Hi Katie’s,
    Thanks for sharing your experience with Pregabalin. I’ve been on this for 5 years now and find it very difficult to function at all without it to take the edge off the pain. I started low and built up and for a long while I was on 75mgs three times a day. As I was still in significant pain it was slowly increased to 150mgs three times a day. This has enabled me to do more and to get out a couple of times a week. Other than Fentanyl patches pregabalin has been the best pain med, and with less side effects. I’ve noticed increased hairiness and weight gain.
    Hope you continue to benefit from it

    • Katie Cupcake - Life with ME says:

      Hi Sue! Thanks so much for reading, commenting and sharing your experiences with me. I really appreciate it! I’m glad to hear that you’ve found some pain relief from the Pregabalin. I’m still hoping that once I get to the right dose, I will get some pain relief myself… fingers crossed! Sorry to hear you’ve had the crappy side effects too, no fun are they? 🙂 xx

  5. Katie says:

    I started Pregabalin about 5 years ago. I went up quite slowly to 150 mg twice a day. I find it is mostly helpful with sleep and with nervous system symptoms (goosebumps, chills, sweats, fast pulse, RLS), usually caused when I get a flare or digestive problems. Now I’m coming down slowly off of it, because I’m planning on expanding my family, and pregabalin is known to cause birth defects. I haven’t had too many side effects since I started taking it, which I think happened partly because I went up so slowly. But I’ll see once I come off of it!

    • Katie Cupcake - Life with ME says:

      Hey name twin (lol)! Thanks for reading and commenting. I’m so glad you mentioned it helping your sweats! I never put two and two together. I was getting AWFUL sweats/hot flushes where I would just be drenched in sweat, and they’ve practically stopped now. I put it down to the weather getting cooler, but realistically it didn’t matter how cold it was before, it’d still happen. I bet it’s the Pregabalin that’s helped it! Thanks for that 🙂 Aww congratulations on planning a new addition to the family – I hope the withdrawal goes well for you and best of luck trying for the baby! xxx

  6. Shannon says:

    Ah ha! I’ve been taking Lyrica for about a year now to manage my FMS. I had noticed my own facial peach fuzz over the summer and wondered if it was hormonal but didn’t think it could be a SE of my meds. It never even occurred to me to check.

    I take 75mg in the morning and 150mg at night. Any more than that and I’m a zombie the following day. It has vastly improved my sleep (to the point where it’s almost normal – despite the other sleeping meds I take) and has controlled my pain quite well. I was constantly dealing with what I called ” Fibro Arms” each day where I’d have tingling and burning pain from shoulder to finger tip from noon onwards. This has become a thing of the past, but I still have bad days, as we all do where I just crawl back to bed and have to call in sick.

    In addition to the fuzzy face, I’ve also gained weight at what seems like an impossibly fast rate, but I don’t know if that’s the Lyrica, my Elavil or the compensationary emotional eating to blame. I also bloat up and retain water like crazy – but again this is another FMS symptom that is likely exasperated by medication.

    I choose the Lyrica over a smaller pant size because it has given me my life back. I was so, so, so sleep deprived and in constant chronic pain amplified by depression that the colour was completely stripped from my life and It was all I could do to keep functioning. Without sleep, you’ve got nothing.

    • Katie Cupcake - Life with ME says:

      Hey Shannon, thanks for reading and commenting! My first thought was the hair was hormonal too. The only reason I know it wasn’t is that I had a hormonal blood panel taken for something else, and everything looked normal. I know the pain of having bad arms – I always get horrible pins & needles, and this ‘dead arms’ feeling, sort of numb yet somehow still painful! I’m glad yours has eased off 🙂 Ugh I’m soooo worried I’ll put more weight on. I already gained nearly 3 stone since being unwell, I could do without any more! But like you say, if it’s that or better health, it’s worth it I guess. xxx

  7. Rebecca says:

    Hi.. very eye opening. Ive been on quite high dose for years. Ive got fibro and ME. Ive got terrible facial hair since being on pregablin. I’d put it down to hormanal changes so the fact it may be the drugs is eye opening. Thank you from one gorilla to another 😜 xxx

    • Katie Cupcake - Life with ME says:

      Hey Rebecca, thanks for reading and commenting! I did exactly the same, thought it was hormonal. The only reason I know it wasn’t is that I had a hormonal blood panel taken for something else, and everything looked normal. I’ve now had SO many women saying the same, I feel like I should write to them or something! Can’t believe they don’t have it listed under side effects. Lol you’re welcome gorilla buddy 😀 haha xxx

  8. Carly says:

    Thanks for sharing your experience! I’ve been on it for three years now and whilst I haven’t had the hair issue, I have put on a ton of weight. I do get relief from it though (confirmed by the agony I was in when we tried to reduce my dose because of the weight gain… but at least I know it works??? Lol). I don’t like that particular side affect but Cumbalta was a total disaster for me so I feel this is the only option. I hope you get some relief soon!

    • Katie Cupcake - Life with ME says:

      Hey Carly! Thank you for reading and commenting! Sorry to hear you’ve put on a lot of weight. I’ve put on nearly 3 stone since being ill, and I know it can be hard to deal with. Sad that we have to choose living with side effects just for some relief. I’m glad it’s helping you thought. Aww thank you, fingers crossed it’ll help me soon! xx

      • Carly Wood says:

        It was all the worse because i@; had lapband surgery two years before and lost 40kg (almost 90lbs). I had to take my parents with me to my GP & band doctor to get them to understand the affects fibro & the medication were having on my weight and that no, I wasn’t just being lazy. I was 28 at the time. Sigh. I was just grateful to my team for welcoming them in & helping me out.

  9. Bill says:

    Hi Katie,
    Thanks for this post. It’s interesting to know how others are finding taking similar medications. I’m on Lyrica 75mg at night for my chronic pain and nerve damage caused by surgery. Like you, I have found no improvement in pain levels and it can assist lessening the leg spasms I suffer at times and my doctor told ne I can take up to 3 if needed which I have done but oh my goodness, after a much improved sleep I wake with the hugest hangover. Apart from that my doctor told me possible weight gain was another side effect. Thanks again and I look forward to reading any updates about your experience with this drug.

    • Katie Cupcake - Life with ME says:

      Hey Bill! Thank you for reading and commenting, I appreciate it. I’m sorry to hear about your chronic pain 🙁 Oh no! See, I get the improved sleep but I don’t suffer from feeling bad the next morning. I wonder why it does that to you! Yeah sadly weight gain is quite a common side effect from it… like I need any more weight gain, haha! I’m now on 150mg morning and night, and it’s finally starting to help with the pain a bit, so fingers crossed xx

  10. mary says:

    So sorry you all have to suffer… I too have Fibro , arhtritis, TMJ.. and few others.. I could not take lyrica.. I swelled up, red rash, and started paralyzing on the left side.. I stopped it.. and my Doctor said good.. I use holistic #all naturual#no side effects methods now… I am happy with that.. I highly recommend this.. feel free to contact me ..

    • Katie Cupcake - Life with ME says:

      Hey Mary! Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂 Aww boo, I’m sorry you have chronic illnesses too. Arthritis on top of fibro and TMJ must be really tough. Have you tried anything for your TMJ? I’ve tried quite a few treatments – botox injections and ultrasound are the most useful with the pain. This is the link, in case it helps you: http://katiecupcakelifewithme.com/2015/06/05/744/

      I’m sorry to hear you had such bad side effects, but glad natural methods are helping you! xx

  11. FERN says:

    Very interesting! My doc has been wanting me to take Lyrica for my high pain levels from Fibro, Lyme Disease, etc. So far I haven’t jumped since I was on Lyrica a couple years ago after developing seizure like myoclonus activity from being on Levaquin . My drivers license was taken at that point but I always felt it was the Lyrica that messed with my brain and made me more if a Zombie then the attacks I got. But hearing so many talk about reduced pain levels and being able to sleep better and have a social life, maybe I’ll have to try again! Gabapentin was another option suggested but that caused Narcolepsy, which was worse coping with than the pain!

    • Katie Cupcake - Life with ME says:

      Hey Fern! Thank you for reading and commenting 🙂 I’m sorry to hear about your chronic illnesses. Hmm it’s a bit of a tough choice for you isn’t it? If you really think Lyrica was what made you feel bad before, it might do the same again. It’s so hard to separate illness symptoms from side effects – you can never be totally sure what is causing what!! I tried Gabapentin for 15 months but it never did anything for me personally. I really hope you find something that works for you and gives you some relief xxx

  12. Grahm says:

    Hi katie,

    I have been on pregablin for 3 years now and take 300mg twice a day. I have chronic pain after a neck injury. I still have a lot of pain and I have to go to bed for a couple of hours late afternoon but that’s it for side effects.
    My biggest relief comes from nerve blocks which I have just had at the Walton Centre in Liverpool.

    Thanks for sharing your experiences

    Regards Graham

    • Katie Cupcake - Life with ME says:

      Hi Graham – thanks so much for reading and taking the time to comment! I’m sorry to hear about your neck injury and pain. I’m glad Pregabalin isn’t causing you too much trouble. Ooh that sounds interesting – what do the nerve blocks involve? Is it anaesthetic injections or something? I’m glad they help you 🙂 x

  13. Jodie says:

    I`m glad to hear that you didn’t have any severe side effects when you first started taking Pregabalin. I know how you feel when it comes to the side effect of hair growth. I wondered why i seemed to be growing more hair on my face all of a sudden but now it makes sense. I suffered with a long list of side effects when i was on Pregabalin and the medication barely touched the pain which is why i came off them. Medication can effect people in so many different ways. I have tried numerous different tablets but, have now decided to stay off all of them and see how it goes. I hope you have better luck managing your pain.

    It was great to read such an honest account of you experience with Pregabalin. I really enjoy reading your blog posts and look forward to reading more 🙂

    • Katie Cupcake - Life with ME says:

      Hi Jodie – thanks for reading and commenting! I’m sorry you had such a tough time taking Pregabalin – I’ve heard plenty of people say the same. My pain still isn’t under control, but it’s better than it was so fingers crossed. I can still go up by quite a bit in the future, if I need to. That’s a really brave decision to come off everything – I really hope it helps you to feel better. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you!

      You seriously wouldn’t believe how many others have had hair growth from it – I hear from people every week! They really need to get it into their side effects list! Have a great Christmas break xxx

  14. Stacey says:

    Your writing style made me laugh out loud. Your sense of humor is contagious. I aspire to write with the wit and humor you do when sharing my unpleasant chronic illnesses. Thanks so much for sharing your experiences. Please keep writing.

  15. Erssie says:

    I’ve been on 600mg, split into two doses, daily for about 13 yrs. It is addictive, so have noticed really bad opiate like withdrawals when I went into hospital and they took a while to write it up and I skipped 2 doses. Over the years it has had the opposite of hairiness on me and I have thinner hair but I was in my 30s when I started and now in my 50s some things are just age. For pain management its good but I have found I am peeing more and have less control over bowels. I am unsteady on my feet at certain times of day. It hasn’t changed my appetite but I gained a lot of weight going from 5.5 stone to 12.5 stone in about 18 mths. I have read as well that it stops development of new synapses in the brain, and some people have claimed it dulled their intellect permanently. I am often in a brain fog, get easily locked into an activity in a hypnotic way. This drug is very expensive so every year at least one attempt is made to swap me to cheaper Gabapentin which is nothing like this. For example, the real cost of a tablet is around £5 so multiply by 2 daily it’s £70 per week. The drug has become a controlled substance Class C in the USA and there it cannot be refilled by a GP more than a set amount of time, and there are noises about having it a CD here in the UK with GPS trying to weed out anyone who might be a drug seeker, malingerer or have an unproven diagnosis. Some GPS believe only consultants should prescribe. The drug is abused recreationally and called Budweisers or Buds in NI as people get drunk on it. At higher doses there have been deaths and suicides (but that could be during withdrawal from higher doses, some users take about 900mg in one go which is a massive overdose). I am very careful not to drink alcohol because I found out even a few sips gives me a blocked nose and throat and feel drowsy and it could depress breathing. There are people who are claiming serious side effects but it seems anecdotal. I will be disappointed if it turns out to be another synthetic opiate, as the whole reason was to keep me off morphine. Although it’s good for nerve pain I find it hopeless for muscular cramps or period pain. On the whole it’s good for debilitating chronic pain but I think higher doses don’t make a huge benefit. I think even for severe pain 150mg am and pm or at the most 300mg if sleeping at night works best.
    I have had several falls and injuries due to the lack of feeling in legs and body.
    It’s hard to know what symptoms are due to my Behcets Disease and what is attributable to this or other drugs. I have had a massive drop in libido and found touch sensation is unpleasant and movement can give me a seasick feeling. I’d say the drug can lower inhibitions so I double check my decisions, don’t press send after writing a fb post and go back and re-read hours later. In other ways, it can make me more shy in group situations as it can make finding the right words quickly enough. Often, in confusion, I talk over someone which is annoying but due to the delay in brain to motor function causing a miss of the gap in conversation. And as you can see my posts are far too verbose and lengthy. I find that I am very content to be in my own company on this drug which is great as I am unwell and can’t work, don’t have family so am alone while my partner works. But I can also be dangerously complacent (been meaning to do certain paperwork for 6 years now)

    By the way, you can get peach fuzz if your immune system is being suppressed like on corticosteroids and even with normal hormonal test results. Look out for Cushings type weight gain, rounding of face and a lemon on toothpick figure. If you’re not on prednisone, it’s possible the Pregabelin has effects on hormones that a drug company hasn’t yet linked or listed. Ask your GP.

  16. Sam says:

    I am getting hair growth problem with pregabalin..like my Beard are getting too strong and can’t have clean shaven. I dont know whether its good or bad..and also a bit weight gain…i am a guy

    • Katie Cupcake - Life with ME says:

      Hey! Sorry to hear you’re having the same hair growth issues with Pregabalin. It seems to be an issue for so many people, I’m surprised they don’t warn you about it on the box. I mean I guess it depends for you on whether you’d prefer to be clean shaven or not. Sorry to hear about the weight gain 🙁 Thank you for reading! xx

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