Gabapentinoid misuse, abuse and non-prescribed obtainment in a United States general population sample

Kirk E. Evoy, The University of Texas At Austin College of Pharmacy, 7703 Floyd Curl Dr. - MC 6220, San Antonio, TX, 78229, USA.
Jordan R. Covvey, Duquesne University School of Pharmacy, 600 Forbes Avenue, 418 Mellon Hall, Pittsburgh, PA, 15282, USA.
Alyssa M. Peckham, School of Pharmacy, Northeastern University, Bouvé College of Health Sciences, 360 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA, R218 TF02115, USA.
Kelly R. Reveles, The University of Texas At Austin College of Pharmacy, 7703 Floyd Curl Dr. - MC 6220, San Antonio, TX, 78229, USA.


Background Reports of gabapentinoid (gabapentin and pregabalin) misuse are on the rise, but few studies have assessed this within the general US population. Objective Describe lifetime misuse/abuse/non-prescribed obtainment of gabapentinoids and descriptive characteristics associated with such actions in a US general population sample. Setting This cross-sectional questionnaire was administered online by Qualtrics research panel aggregator via quota-based sampling. Methods Data were collected from a sample of respondents that mirrored the general US population aged 18-59 years with regards to age, geographic region, ethnicity, income, and education level, based on most recent census data. Misuse/abuse/non-prescribed obtainment was collectively defined as use of a gabapentinoid for reasons other than a diagnosed medical condition, using with the intention of altering one's state of consciousness, or obtaining without a prescription. A multivariable logistic regression model was created to predict misuse/abuse/non-prescribed obtainment of gabapentinoids, incorporating relevant covariates. Main outcome measure Proportion of sample indicating lifetime misuse/abuse/non-prescribed obtainment of gabapentinoids. Results Among 1,843 respondents, 121 (6.6%) reported gabapentinoid misuse/abuse/non-prescribed obtainment. Specifically, 2.1% (n = 39) and 1.5% (n = 27) of respondents for gabapentin and pregabalin, respectively, met study criteria for abuse. Opioids were the most common medication co-administered with gabapentinoids (among 50-70% of respondents) for misuse/abuse. Previous treatment for addiction (OR: 2.61, 95% CI: 1.32-5.14, p = 0.005) and the total attitudinal risk score (OR: 1.14, 95% CI: 1.09-1.19, p < 0.001) were associated with gabapentinoid misuse/abuse/non-prescribed obtainment. Conclusion Among those surveyed, 6.6% reported previous gabapentinoid misuse/abuse/non-prescribed obtainment, providing one of the first estimates within a nationally distributed, US general population sample.