Pregabalin and gabapentin use, misuse and dependence

First published: 13 March 2019 | Last updated: 27 March 2019


Professor Marie Claire Van Hout

Professor of Public Health Policy and Practice

Marie Claire Van Hout is Professor of Public Health Policy and Practice at the Public Health Institute, Liverpool John Moores University, United Kingdom. She has over 17 years research, education, community development and clinical practice experience in various fields of public health and drug policy and practice, and concentrated on prescribed and illicit substance use, misuse and dependence, performance and image enhancement drug use, infectious diseases and ethnicity. She has consulted for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) (2012), and the European Research Executive Agency (REA).

Pregabalin is approved for the treatment of partial epilepsy, generalized anxiety disorder, peripheral and central neuropathic pain, and fibromyalgia with an accepted dosage range of 150 mg to 600 mg/day. Prescribing of pregabalin is increasing worldwide with public health concerns centring on misuse and abuse of prescribed and diverted pregabalin. Rising attention to the abuse liability of pregabalin causing addictive behaviors is partially based on case reports and published literature of pregabalin used in dosages that override the approved therapeutic range. The presentation will describe what we know about the misuse and abuse of pregabalin in terms of 1) its abuse potential; 2) prevalence of abuse; 3) risk and predisposition; 4) user experiences in relation to poly use of pregabalin and other drugs; pregabalin patterns and routes of administration; experiences of dependence and withdrawal, and sourcing; and 5) consequences of abuse. The presentation will include details with regard to the need for rational prescribing, patient, prescriber and pharmacist education, and continued pharmacovigilance to manage and address suspected abuse.



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Professor Marie Claire Van Hout