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Pregabalin Does Not Reduce Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms

A Randomized Controlled Trial

Kheirabadi, Gholam R. MD*; Moazeni, Sharyar MD*; Salehi, Mehrdad MD*; Mahaki, Behzad PhD

Addictive Disorders & Their Treatment: December 2019 - Volume 18 - Issue 4 - p 205–211
doi: 10.1097/ADT.0000000000000166
Original Articles

Background and Aim: Controlling the symptoms of opioid withdrawal syndrome is important for the treatment of opioid addiction. There is very limited evidence on the effectiveness of pregabalin on opioid withdrawal syndrome. The present study examines the effectiveness of pregabalin in reducing opioid withdrawal symptoms.

Methods: This double-blind clinical-trial was conducted on noninjecting opioid users diagnosed with opioid dependence and referred to the Addiction Treatment Center of Khorshid Hospital in Isfahan, Iran, in 2015 and 2016. The patients were divided into intervention and control groups, and both groups received Buprenorphine for the routine management of opioid withdrawal syndrome. The intervention group additionally received 450 mg/d of pregabalin while the control group received placebos. Opioid withdrawal symptoms were evaluated using the Short Opioid Withdrawal Scale (SOWS). Data were analyzed in SPSS-20. Descriptive data were reported as mean±SD. The analytic data were analyzed using the repeated-measures ANOVA. The level of statistical significance was set at P-value<0.05.

Results: The mean age was 41.58±10.09 in the intervention group and 44±8.87 years in the control group (P=0.47). None of the assessed signs and symptoms differed significantly between the 2 groups.

Conclusions: The results did not show the superiority of the 450-mg/day pregabalin regimen versus the placebo for controlling the symptoms of opioid withdrawal syndrome. Further studies administering higher doses of pregabalin are recommended.

*Department of Psychiatry, Behavioral Sciences Research Center, School of Medicine, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan

Department of Bioststistics, School of Health, Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences, Kermanshah, Iran

Clinical Trial Registration ID: IRCT201702012266N6.

Supported by Isfahan University of Medical Sciences (IUMS) as a residential thesis; the IUMS had no further role in study design; in the collection, analysis and interpretation of data; in the writing of the report; and in the decision to submit the paper for publication.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Reprints: Gholam R. Kheirabadi, MD, Behavioral Sciences Research Center, Khorshid Hospital, Ostandari St. Isfahan 8145831451, Iran (e-mail:

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