When I first heard about gabapentin recreational use at first it seemed bizarre, but recently there have been more reports of the diversion of prescriptions for gabapentin recreational use. This makes some sense because the one of the primary problems with the use of gabapentin for neuropathic pain is that most people need to start at subtheraputic doses and very gradually increase their daily dose to avoid common gabapentin side effects of dizziness, vertigo and what is described by many patients as a drunken or drugged feeling. It is likely very easy for an individual to intentionally ingest a mild overdose of gabapentin and induce those sensations. Gabapentin is not a controlled substance, and I certainly never thought of gabapentin as having abuse potential, but it sounds like gabapentin is yet one more substance you need to keep locked away to prevent diversion and gabapentin recreational use. I’ll try to keep an ear to the news of other drugs with unexpected abuse potential and make brief posts about them from time to time.
I’d love comments on other unexpected prescription drugs readers may have found to be diverted to recreational use or abuse.
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A post about the tricky gabapentin dose.
Added info: Since I wrote this article I’ve had comments ab0ut recreational use of numerous medications I never thought would be considered drugs of abuse. Still opioid abuse, especially diversion and misuse of opioids is the biggest and most problematic of the prescription drugs that are misused. The recreational use of opioids, unlike recreational use of gabapentin,can lead to serious addiction problems, physical withdrawal issues, and deaths from prescription opioids has become so common that it is more frequent than death from herion in the U.S. This whole prescription opioid problem has become so important that Washington State has been a national leader in legislating controls on prescribing practices by physicians.
Benzodiazapine recreational use is another common drug I see misused. This is nothing new, and has been going on since at least the days when Valium was grossly over prescribed. This is another class of drugs where also unlike with gabapentin recreational use serious withdrawal issues that can even be life-threatening can occur.