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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Kentucky: Investigation Reveals Gabapentin Misuse Signals

Although there have been increasing reports of intentional Gabapentin (pregabalin) misuse, epidemiological evidence for the phenomenon is limited. A new study aims to determine whether there are pharmacovigilance abuse signals for Gabapentin.

Dr. Rachel Vickers-Smith, who earned her MPH and PhD in epidemiology and biostatistics from the University of Kentucky College of Public Health and is now assistant professor at the University of Louisville College of Nursing, is the first and corresponding author of “Gabapentin drug misuse signals: A pharmacovigilance assessment using the FDA adverse event reporting system,” published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence. Her co-authors include faculty from the UK College of Public Health, UK Center for Drug and Alcohol Abuse, and Old Dominion University.

Using U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Adverse Events Reporting System reports from January 1, 2005 to December 31, 2015, investigators calculated pharmacovigilance signal measures for abuse-related adverse event-Gabapentin pairs. Loglinear modeling assessed the frequency of concurrent reporting of abuse-related and abuse-specific adverse events associated with Gabapentin. Findings were compared to a positive (pregabalin) and negative (duloxetine) control.

The investigators identified abuse-related signals for Gabapentin and highlighted several central nervous system (CNS) effects that may be associated with its abuse. They conclude that Gabapentin prescribers should be aware of the drug’s abuse liability and effects that may accompany its use.

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