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Gabapentin: What You Need to Know!

What is it?

  • Approved by the FDA to treat epilepsy and neuropathy, nerve pain, but is being prescribed for off label purposes; such as insomnia and anxiety.
  • It is a schedule VI, which means it is not labeled as a controlled substance.
  • Considered non-addictive
  • Not an opioid, but affects the brain and nervous system by blocking electrical activity in the brain.1
  • Not an opioid, but affects the brain and nervous system by blocking electrical activity in the brain.1

Why it is a problem?

  • Prescribed in large quantities to a vast number of people
  • It is being promoted as an alternative to opioids.
  • It can enhance the euphoria caused by an opioid and lessen withdrawal symptoms.
  • It bypasses the blocking effect of some medications used for addiction treatment so that patients can still get that high while in recovery1.
  • It is cheap and can be cut with other street drugs.
  • Gabapentin is not always tested for in drug screenings.
  • GoodRX reported it to be the most prescribed medication in 2017.

What is being done?

  • In June 2017, the Virginia Board of Pharmacy added it to the prescription monitoring program, which is used to track controlled substance prescriptions.2

1. https://oceanbreezerecovery.org/blog/gabapentin-abuse/

2. https://nabp.pharmacy/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/VA062017.pdf

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