More awareness, research needed on abuse risk of non-opioid painkiller

Rachel Vickers Smith, Ph.D., M.P.H. Credit: University of Louisville

Amid the opioid epidemic, abuse of a different prescription painkiller has widely gone unnoticed.

Gabapentin, a nerve pain medication and anticonvulsant sold under the brand name Neurontin and others, increasingly is being misused, necessitating prescribers to understand its abuse potential and risk profile, said Rachel Vickers Smith, Ph.D., M.P.H., assistant professor in the University of Louisville School of Nursing.

She has found that abusers typically mix gabapentin with opioids, marijuana, cocaine and opioid treatment medication, compounding side effects to the central nervous system that include euphoria and sedation.

Some people who have primarily abused opioid pain medication have turned to gabapentin after crackdowns made it more difficult to obtain opioid prescriptions or purchase the drug on…

Continue reading at

About Medical Express

Medical Xpress is a web-based medical and health news service that is part of the renowned Science X network. Based on the years of experience as a medical research channel, started in April 2011, Medical Xpress became a separate website. Branching out with's monthly 2.5 million readership, Medical Xpress features the most comprehensive coverage in medical research and health news in the fields of neuroscience, cardiology, cancer, HIV/AIDS, psychology, psychiatry, dentistry, genetics, diseases and conditions, medications and more.