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LYRICA NIGHTS–RECREATIONAL PREGABALIN ABUSE IN AN URBAN EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT
  1. J Millar,
  2. S Sadasivan,
  3. N Weatherup,
  4. S Lutton
  1. Emergency Department, Royal Victoria Hospital, Belfast, United Kingdom

Abstract

Objectives & Background Since ‘legal highs' emerged as drugs of abuse in the UK, Emergency Physicians have battled to keep up with the latest drug craze. Whilst many of these drugs present with recognisable toxidromes, the effect of new compounds or medications cannot be readily predicted. In Belfast, we have witnessed a recent increase in the number of patients presenting after recreational abuse of Pregabalin (Lyrica). Patients, state that the medication induces a state similar to drunkenness, hence the street name ‘Budweiser's’. To our knowledge this is the first case series detailing the recreational abuse of Pregabalin, a drug which has become popular in primary care.

Methods We conducted a one year review of all patients presenting to our department after recreational drug abuse. Those who admitted to Pregabalin usage were identified and case notes were reviewed.

Results Between 02/12–02/13, 10 patients presented to our ED following recreational Pregabalin abuse. All were aged between 20 and 35 years of age. Dosages ranged from 500–1400 mg. Six patients presented with seizures (5 of which were ‘first' seizures). Two patients required intubation and ventilation and were admitted to the ICU. In total, nine patients were admitted for a minimum of 24 hours, whilst one patient discharged against advice.

Conclusion Emergency Physicians should be aware of the current use of Pregabalin as a recreational drug. Patients are either taking tablets whole or cutting and snorting them. 60% of patients in this case series presented to the ED with seizures and 20% required ICU admission. We recommend that patients who present with potential Lyrica toxicity should be admitted for observation with the treating physician being mindful of the potential for seizure activity.

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