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Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 2013 Dec;69(12):2021-5. doi: 10.1007/s00228-013-1578-5. Epub 2013 Aug 30.

Pregabalin abuse among opiate addicted patients.

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Department of Addictive Behavior and Addiction Medicine, Central Institute of Mental Health, University of Heidelberg/Medical Faculty Mannheim, J5/68159, Mannheim, Germany,



Pregabalin is a novel GABA-analogue approved for the treatment of partial onset seizures, neuropathic pain, and general anxiety disorder. Pregabalin has been classified as a Schedule V drug with a low risk of inflicting abuse or addiction. However, some publications have indicated that pregabalin may have a potential for abuse among patients with past or current opiate addiction. Thus, we hypothesized that pregabalin might be abused by patients who were undergoing an opiate replacement therapy and never had an indication for taking pregabalin on medical grounds.


Urine specimens from 124 patients with opiate dependency syndrome and from 111 patients with other addiction disorders (alcohol, benzodiazepines, cannabis, amphetamines) were screened for pregabalin by means of a mass spectrometer analysis.


We found 12.1 % of all urine specimens from patients with opiate addiction to be positive for pregabalin. None of the patients concerned had a medical indication for using pregabalin. In the control group, 2.7 % of the patients were tested positively for pregabalin, due to their taking it regularly for chronic pain or general anxiety.


Our data suggest that pregabalin is liable to be abused among individuals with opiate dependency syndrome Thus, vigilance and caution are called for when patients with a past or current opiate dependency are exposed to treatment with pregabalin.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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