Is Lyrica (Pregabalin) A Controlled Substance?

Medically Reviewed by Johnelle Smith, M.D. on September 2, 2022

Lyrica is a prescription drug that is used to treat neuropathic pain conditions as well as mental health disorders. It is classified as having an abuse potential that is higher than other prescription drugs, which is why it is a controlled substance.

Is Lyrica A Controlled Substance?

Lyrica (the brand name for pregabalin) is a medication that prescribing healthcare providers give to patients who experience conditions involving neuropathic pain.

Pregabalin is listed as among the Schedule V controlled substances, so its abuse potential is low relative to other drugs on the schedules.

Why Lyrica Is A Schedule V Controlled Substance

While Lyrica’s abuse potential is lower than other controlled substances, it is still higher than prescription or over-the-counter drugs that are not controlled.

Pregabalin was put on the list as a safeguard for people taking the medication.

Known Medical Use

Pregabalin has a variety of uses both on- and off-label, making it a versatile drug for prescribing doctors. The intended use of the drug is for nerve pain.

These conditions can include:

  • fibromyalgia
  • shingles
  • postherpetic neuralgia
  • spinal cord injury
  • diabetic peripheral neuropathy

Many people experience pain relief from these or other chronic pain conditions without having to rely on opioids such as codeine, oxycodone, or fentanyl.

In addition, pregabalin is prescribed off-label for the following conditions:

  • bipolar disorder
  • restless legs syndrome
  • social anxiety disorder
  • insomnia
  • generalized anxiety disorder

But you should not take pregabalin for these conditions without receiving medical advice.

Low Potential For Misuse

Part of the reason Lyrica has a low abuse potential is due to the way it interacts with the brain.

Similar to gabapentin, pregabalin interacts with gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is why it is sometimes used for anxiety.

But unlike Xanax, Valium (diazepam), or other benzodiazepines which increase GABA in the brain, Lyrica interacts with the protein channels (called voltage-gated calcium channels) for GABA at the alpha-2-delta subunit on a presynaptic level.

This means that pregabalin doesn’t interact with dopamine, opiate, or other such receptors in the brain, giving it a relatively low abuse potential.

Nevertheless, when used for pain, gabapentin and pregabalin, among other anticonvulsants, are referred to as gabapentinoids.

When Lyrica Became A Controlled Substance

The schedules of controlled substances came into effect in 1971 under the Controlled Substances Act.
Lyrica was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for sale at the very end of 2004.

In the summer of 2005, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) ruled that pregabalin is a Schedule V controlled substance.

What Class Of Drugs Does Lyrica Belong To?

Lyrica is in the anticonvulsant class of drugs. One of its intended uses is as an aid to other drugs for the treatment of seizures related to epilepsy.

Neurontin or Gralise (which are brand names for gabapentin) are also anticonvulsive drugs. But pain relief is an off-label use of gabapentin, while the relief of nerve pain is pregabalin’s intended use.

What Happens When You Abuse Lyrica?

Because Lyrica interacts with GABA neurotransmitters, it produces a feeling of calm in the person who uses it.

Lyrica abuse often looks like people using it concurrently with other substances in order to enhance the euphoric feeling. They may even snort Lyrica to intensify effects.

Some substances which may be mixed with Lyrica can include:

  • alcohol
  • opioids
  • heroin

Effects Of Lyrica Abuse

Pregabalin substance abuse is not without side effects.

Common side effects of Lyrica abuse include:

  • weight gain
  • drowsiness to the point of sedation
  • suicidal thoughts

Additionally, Lyrica is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant, so using it in conjunction with other depressants like those listed above can affect body functions that the CNS controls.

For example, the respiratory system can be dangerously depressed by using pregabalin in conjunction with these other substances.

Find Treatment Programs For Lyrica Addiction

You do not have to keep endangering yourself through Lyrica addiction.

You or your loved one can find treatment options and help with managing withdrawal symptoms at a drug rehab center in your city or your region.

At, we help individuals just like you by offering confidential help in finding a treatment center.

Call our helpline today to start your recovery.

This page does not provide medical advice. See more

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Medically Reviewed by
Johnelle Smith, M.D. on September 2, 2022
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