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Commentary on “A Call for Caution in Prescribing Gabapentin to Individuals with Concurrent Polysubstance Abuse

A Case Report”


Journal of Psychiatric Practice®: July 2019 - Volume 25 - Issue 4 - p 308–312
doi: 10.1097/PRA.0000000000000404
Clinical Case Discussions

Gabapentin is an anticonvulsant medication with an indication from the US Food and Drug Administration for use in partial onset seizures and postherpetic neuralgia in the United States. Currently, gabapentin is only classified as a controlled substance subject to stricter prescribing and distributing regulations in certain states, as opposed to pregabalin, an anticonvulsant with a similar mechanism of action which is a considered a Schedule V medication under federal law. Gabapentin shares a structural similarity to pregabalin, and several case reports have suggested that gabapentin has a similar propensity for abuse. The mechanisms of the gabapentin reward pathway, addiction, and withdrawal, however, are not well known. This case report describes a patient with long-term polysubstance abuse and new onset gabapentin dependence and demonstrates the need for increased surveillance of gabapentin prescribing.

KAHN: Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Please send correspondence to: Gabriel M. Martinez, DO, Community Health Network, 7165 Clearvista Way, Indianapolis, IN 46256 (e-mail:

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