Gabapentin the next medication to become a “controlled substance” ?

Study finds high rate of misuse of seizure and pain drug

With increasing public attention to overdose deaths and misuse of prescription medications in the United States, researchers today presented the results of a new study looking at abuse and misuse of gabapentin, a medication used to treat seizures and relieve nerve pain often associated with shingles.

The research, presented at the 68th AACC Annual Scientific Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo in Philadelphia, found about one in five patients who are using powerful opioid pain medications and being monitored for compliance or illicit drug use tested positive for gabapentin even though they did not have a prescription for the drug.

“The high rate of misuse of this medication is surprising and it is also a wakeup call for prescribers,” said Poluru L. Reddy, PhD, DABCC, the medical director of ARIA Diagnostics and ARCTIC Medical Labs. “Doctors don’t usually screen for gabapentin abuse when making sure patients are taking medications, such as opioids, as prescribed. These findings reveal that there is a growing risk of abuse and a need for more robust testing.”

Between 2008 and 2011 the number of emergency room visits in metropolitan areas for misuse or abuse of gabapentin (also known by the brand name Neurontin) increased by nearly five times, according to the Drug Abuse Warning Network. Gabapentin is not scheduled as a controlled substance, because when taken alone there is little potential for abuse and addiction. When taken with other medications, however, such as opioids, muscle relaxants, and anxiety medications like Valium and Xanax, gabapentin can be abused to increase a patient’s “high.”

Researchers at ARIA Diagnostics found that of those patients taking gabapentin illicitly, over half (56%) were taking it with an opioid, about a quarter (27%) with an opioid and muscle relaxant or anxiety medication, and the rest with other substances. The 323 samples tested came from pain clinics (about 90%) and rehabilitation clinics (about 10%) primarily in Indiana, Arizona, and Massachusetts.

“This research tells doctors and prescribers that they need to be cautious in prescribing gabapentin and closely monitor patients with a history of drug abuse,” said Reddy. “And patients need to know that medications that are safe alone can be dangerous when mixed without talking with a doctor.”

In addition to this study, researchers will present the latest in drug abuse testing at the AACC Annual Scientific Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo, including:

•The validation of a new test designed to ensure pain management patients are using prescriptions as directed by testing for the presence of 55 drugs and metabolites with one sample. “Validation of a LC/MS-MS Method for Pain Management Confirmatory Drug Testing of 55 Drugs and Metabolites” (B-313)

•A new test to measure the presence of a morphine-like semi-synthetic opioid (buprenorphine) that has a high potential for abuse and addiction. “New Emit II Plus Buprenorphine Assay with 5 ng/mL Cutoff” (B-320)

•A new clinical laboratory test for patients in drug monitoring programs that differentiates between the presence of illicit methamphetamines and the use of legal methamphetamines found in over-the-counter decongestant inhalers. This test would make this screening more widely available. “Validation of an LCMS Method for Chiral Determination of Methamphetamine” (A-371)

•A urine test to confirm the presence of nicotine from tobacco smoke versus a nicotine patch. This test could be useful in tracking success in tobacco cessation clinics. “A Novel Dilute and Shoot LC-MS/MS Method for the Measurement of Nicotine, Cotinine, Nornicotine, and Anabasine in Human Urine” (A-351)

69 Responses

  1. My Girlfriend has now OD’d for the third time off this shit but the fucktard doctors keep giving it to her. “Its not a drug of abuse”… So why then is she in a medically induced coma for the third time in three months?

  2. My goodness, now the drug addicts have found a way to screw up our Gabapentin. I’ve been taking Gabapentin for years! Due to sciatica a back surgery didn’t fix, amongst other issues. Earlier this year I read an article on my phone’s news feed about the possibility of Gabapentin becoming a controlled substance. Now, reading this article, learning that Gabapentin can be abused to increase a patient’s high when taken with other medications such as opioid and muscle relaxants. Well, slap me silly! I’ve been taking my medication like that for years! It’s been my routine for, well, years. AM- Gab, Tizanidine, Nucynta ER, other meds, 8hrs later-Oxycodone, Tizanidine, Gab…Etc..For heaven’s sake I had no clue it made anyone high. Those meds don’t even make me high and I have no desire to take them any more than prescribed. But didn’t I feel like the red headed step-child when I had my last appt. Just waiting for my pain management Dr to say something. And now according to this article I take the trifecta of the drug addict’s wonderland. Just, how dare they! How dare they screw this up for us!! Our prescription medication that we jump hoops through to get. Jump hoops through to keep are becoming illegal. Yes, I say illegal!! Doctors are refusing to prescribe them. Pharmacies are refusing to fill them. Insurance are refusing to pay for them. I believe in my lifetime, and I’m 40, I’ll see heroin legalized. Is that what we are supposed to turn to for pain management?! I REFUSE TO!! It should be…OUR we manage our pain. Whatever method works best should be our choice. No pressure. No question.

    **How we choose to manage our Chronic Pain should be our choice.
    **There is no room for the government in a responsible doctor/patient relationship.
    **Suicide is not Pain Management.

  3. Fyi, It’s now a controlled substance

  4. I do have epilepsy and have took about every different seizure meds there is in the past 30years including neurontin. What I can’t figure out is why people that don’t need medication why are you taking it instead of counting your blessings and just thanking God that y’all have good health. Keep on abusing seizure meds and any of them and they’ll make you have seizures. Those meds do the opposite for a non-epileptic than they do for someone who is epileptic. Just thought y’all should know.

  5. […] this happens, the addictive potential increases. The most common drug used concomitantly with gabapentin is opioids. A recent study found that 56% […]


  7. Anyone with half a brain knows that there are dangers to any drug;Stupid people,WE DON’T NEED anyway!!!In 2015,more than 15,000 people died from ANTI-INFLAMMATORIES!!!NO CONTROL ON IBUPROFEN!!!!! No doubt,the d.e.a. is behind this!!! As they are losing the ability to prosecute MARIJUANA users,the are EXPANDING THEIR WEB to PERSECUTE ANYONE FOR ANYTHING POSSIBLE,and I EXPECT they are reading this too!To this I say,IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST I REBUKE YOU!!!

  8. Does not matter what a drug “does”!!! What matters is that we are EDUCATED,know the pitfall,and HAVE A CHOICE!!! More people die from guns than ANY drug! ” If you point the gun at yourself and pull the trigger you will suffer”;doesn’t stop people from shooting themselves! But,they’d better not try to take our guns;NO DIFFERENCE!!!! It’s not about drugs,it’s about CHOICE!!!!!!!!

    • Amen,,,someone who get it!I hear some claim, marijuana stopsthe use of opiates,,I hear some say kratom is the excellent replacement,better then opiates,,I hear controlling people tell me,,u should take this at this amount,,,THERE ALL ABOUT CONTROL ON ADULTS,,,,WHEN ITS NOT THERE PLACE AT ALL,,,


  10. ALL drugs should be DECRIMINALIZED,and be considered a HEALTH ISSUE! It won’t happen because too many people (untrained or educated in ANYTHING ELSE)are making money off of the ” drug war”;it’s a big JOKE!!#D.E.A. has less than 1% effectiveness rate;SIMPLY A FACT!!# LOOK IT UP.

  11. I have MS, and RLS this med helps me a lot, I’m not in a wheel chair
    I read all the posts, I was wondering why it will be a controlled substance, but now I see why.. Damn Drug addicts.

    • Therein lies the problem. People who are abusing prescription drugs of any kind are making lives for those of us with severe chronic pain horrific. Doctors are afraid to prescribe anything anymore. They fear loss of their licenses. I take gabapentin and opiates because I have severe chronic pain. Without these medications I have absolutely no quality of life, but like some criminal addict who’s doing the heroin just for the high, I have been put through the wringer for the last 6 months having to prove I did have a true legitimate medical need for these
      Prescriptions. Yes I am addicted, but no more so than someone who has to take oxygen because of emphysema or someone who has asthma, no more than a diabetic needs to have insulin sometimes, or a person who takes medication for their heart because they have had a heart attack. Does this make these people drug addicts? According to the government and their new laws yes they are! Due to people abusing any drugs, we now have a government who is controlling absolutely all areas of Our Lives. Stop treating us like criminals. There has to be a better way! To our doctors, make sure your patients are using their prescriptions properly, but remember some of us have proven time and again that we need these prescriptions. Thank you for listening.

  12. People who abuse sometimes use alcohol with the illegal substance. They also have food, so if you follow the logic we need to make alcohol or food a scheduled substance.
    The “authorities” who have robbed us of our freedom (more every day) will outlaw everything present on a user, No matter if it has something to do with abuse.
    If we stay quiet who knows if this will stop?Why do they get away with this? If we let it go, we will lose our freedom to live as we have.

  13. The fact that this medication is now scheduled is absolutely absurd. The scheduling system is in place for potentially addictive substances. Neurontin is far from addictive and anyone that actually takes it for anxiety or pain management or whatever will tell you that. If anything needs to be scheduled it is all the over prescribed anti depressants that produce worse withdrawal effects than any other controlled substance could ever hope to. The fact that I have to submit my ss to receive a medication I’ve used and helps with crippling social anxiety and joint pains is absolute garbage.

    • Kudos. Been on 900mg (3x daily) for 5 years. It SAVED my life. I say this because i was drinking 20-30 drinks a day plus whatever other downers I could afford. After a couple tries i’ve been sober 4 yrs and 50 weeks. Helped my anxiety also ( hence the continued use). As a long time addict I can say with complete confidence that the abuse potential of gabapentin is almost non-existant, even when combined with other drugs. Should we have discuss that damn buprenorphine problem? Give me a break.

  14. So me getting my Gabapentin for treating my Trigeminal Neuralgia is going to become harder. It shouldn’t, but it will. Wonderful, just freakin’ wonderful. I already have to beg my doctor for prescription strength Naproxin for severe arthritis. Now treating one of the most painful illnesses known to humankind is going to become more difficult. No freakin’ wonder people self medicate.

  15. Your right

  16. What is a person suppose to do for real pain???? I’d like to know. Too bad we have to self medicate.

  17. I have had 2 back surjerys a diebetic and have nerve damage in my si-joints neurontin has been life saver the doctors have taken my pain medicine my anxiety meds and now the want to take this what are patients suppose to do? Oh i know what if we go back to drinking when I dint want to be that person that had back pain you know downing a fifth every time I was in so much pain but what did my doctor do dissabled me and started the pain pill regiment why did they invent medications if they are not for taking i take a pill for all the other diagnosis i know people abuse them but monitor us don’t put name tag on us and say we are all bad! Just give the patient a chance to take all the medication the right don’t take them away because the government says too.

    • Lol the only reason neurotin has been showing up in herion overdoses is because the person probably didnt have the money or access to the drug the day or two before the overdose, so they took neurotin to help the ‘dope’ sickness. Im a recovering addict been clean for many years, but i know several people still struggling. I have spoken to them extensively about this correlation between these two drugs and this is the answer i have received overwhelmingly. Just shows up in their system because not having the opiate they desire for lack of money, or cant find the opiate or any reason they couldn’t use that day so they took neurotin to feel well or some since of wellness.

  18. If I were the AMA, I might ask the government to stay where they belong and that is Washington, DC, and surely not in the middle of the Doctor/Patient relationship which was once sacred in nature. Why are MDs taking this intrusion into their profession by the FDA and DEA?
    The truth of the matter is that outside their offices, doctors are sheep with very little honor to their patients.

  19. From a recovering addict
    I was going to say I’m sorry but no I’m not! The DEA and the government are way too involved in everyone’s personal lives now!! I think it’s our own choice to take drugs or not!! I myself decided to quit. Others go on taking them and putting their lives on the line. So be it!! The DEA is barely making a dent in the drug game. Their excessive paychecks do not warrant that. Spend the damn billions of dollars elsewhere!!!

  20. So what it’s being abused? It doesn’t cause any problems! You can’t overdose on the stuff! I take 10 800mg at night so I can sleep. I don’t take anything else with it. I can take otc sleeping pills. They just cause rls and I can’t keep still. I can’t take the prescribed sleeping pills like Ambien because they cause me to do crazy shit! So yes I take more then the bottle says. And hell if people want to take other drugs and maybe die from them then let them!! There’s too many damned people in the world anyways!!

    • You CAN OD on it…and can cause kidney failure…just because they aren’t advertising the negative effects and addictive qualities doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

      The same thing happened with opioids in the beginning….drug companies claimed they weren’t addictive and no negative side effects until….


  21. Gabapentin is used by addicts to keep from beibg sick when they have no drugs. It helps the withdrawal symptoms. But in my state of WV we ha e a large aamount out Drugs right now but the actual abuse of Gabapentin is not a problem .

  22. I was on that awful stuff for a while. Never felt to take fistfuls of it but if I ran out and was away from a pharmacy or something the withdrawal was BAD. Like I’m a recovering heroin addict so I know what ‘bad’ and gabapentin is about halfway as a bad as heroin (different though). Doctors specifically said that it didn’t cause physical dependency so there’s a real chance of non addicts getting hooked and finding out when they can’t get a refill. Surprise!

  23. I think this is somewhat unnecessary due to the freedoms that are tested through a urine test. Come on what next?

  24. I had a pretty bad addiction to weed. I took this gab (got from a friend) and now I’m pretty much cured. I haven’t wanted weed. I feel calm. I’m gonna wane myself off of it. I haven’t done other drugs while on it. This literally saved my life. I agree people can abuse it but you shouldn’t scare people from taking it. It truly is a life saver. Cured me of my addiction

    • I agree man. First day on it myself an addict and I feel great. Took it as prescribed. Its prescribed to me for nerve damage hence my paralyzed arm and for mental illness and I feel like I’m in a whole new world. A normal world for once

    • My doc gave me gaba 300mg, never took it. What I’m here to say is that ANYTHING that will make big pharma big bucks will become controlled. These assays can’t leave well enough alone!

    • Happy for u!

  25. All the amoking cessation products replace the form.of nicotine.the.peraon is getting. My husband used smokeless
    .worst one to quit. for 6 yrs he has been usuing logenzes regularly because he cant have the other at work without having his insurance premium inceased
    work doesnt care how long they are on these products as long as they are not smoking or chewing Absolutely no different than suboxone or methadone for years.

  26. kandiapple, I would be interested in checking out the web site you mention. That “website that calls out scientists who alter and falsify and mess up information.” Hope you’re following this comment thread. Thank you for your contribution to the conversation!

  27. Been on gabapentinfor 2 years coming off withdrawals worse than the heroin withdrawals

  28. interesting comments on this post. all about addiction and none about pain. usually all the comments here are like ‘boohoohoo, i’m a chronic pain patient. waa, waa. i’m not an addict. pain, pain, pain.’ well… it seems like the truth has finally made an appearance. congratulations to all.

    • The truth is that Chronic pain patients are being denied pain medication because a small percent have abused the meds. Because those who make our laws do not understand that addicts will move to other sources when they can no longer get their drug of choice other medications such as Gabapentin may also be very hard to get for someone who has chronic pain. Chronic pan suffer and the addicts are not getting the treatment that is needed when they are ready to get off the drug. When you tell the next bed opening is a year from now chances are they will never be seen again.

      • True story it is a real shame we must suffer BC they finally decided that opioid treatment can be harmful so these docs no longer treat the Patient, they only commence cutting your mess, irregardless of your personal situation

    • Obviously you’re not a chronic pain patient are you, you fucktard! As one myself,trigeminal neuralgia “suicide disease”, I take offense to your dumbass comments. If you only knew the pain, your opinion would be soooo different. I guess just goes to show you why this world is the way it is,people like you. So congratulations to you, fucktard of the year award winner.

      • Chad, I had TN due to a root canal and it was the most horrorific thing I’ve ever experienced. I had 2 episodes when infection set in. I’m sorry you are a chronic sufferer. Nobody can even begin to know what pain is until they’ve suffered TN. Hope you’re doing better. God bless you!

    • What a totally ignorant point of view, William. Obviously you have no chronic pain issue. There are many people like me with chronic pain from 3 bulging discs and neuropathy in both feet. I can’t sit or stand for longer than 20 minutes at a time and my feet feel like someone has set off firecrackers in all of my toes. I avoid all medications. I have had a prescription for Gabapentin for years. Prescribed 3 a day and never take more than one. Take no pain medication on a regular basis at all. But for those that take their meds as prescribed should be able to do so without being rebuked by you. Your comment is insensitive and really doesn’t even make any sense. Waa, waa, waa. Get off your high horse.

    • William, look there are TRULY people with serious issues here. I just answered to a person with trigiminal neuralgia, which I experienced 2 x due to a root canal gone bad. I’m 70 years old have 5 bulging disc, one has herniated, I need surgery.ive had chronic back pain for years not to mention neuropathy of both feet. There are many ill people on this earth, apparently not one is up to your compassionate soul. I hope you never suffer any kind of of chronic pain,, ever. The way you commented i believe youre trolling.Go elsewhere child, nobody wants to hear your uncompassionate shit!

    • So u don’t think pain exists? It does! And people need pain relief. When pain medication is given for the right reason to the right people, it’s effective. When taken correctly and not abused then where do these people get help? There are actually some people who are not addicts. They simply need and deserve relief! Judgemental people need to learn about walking in others shoes before you label them!

  29. I’ve read on other sites they’ve figured out how to get a buzz off Seroquel by crushing it and snorting it. Truly folks, a true addict, if they believe they can get any kind of psychological or physical high from ANY substance, they will figure out a way…..Addiction will NEVER go away no matter how hard the government tries to ban, restrict, schedule, incarcerate, a person or substance. The addicts will always be able to outsmart the mousetrap even before it hits the market……so, the government should just hang it up

    • Every time that you try to make something idiot proof… they build better idiots 🙁

      • Addicts are not “idiots”! If you had any sort of compassion, etc you would know this. You must’ve missed that class huh…

        • Apparently your comprehension is lacking… if you would have read the article/post .. you should have notice the hyperlink to a article from

          I did not add any comments … I routinely put my comments in GREEN… and since there is no GREEN text in the entire text of this post.. it was quoted from the published article. Maybe you should read some of the other 4000+ post on my blog.. before you jump to the conclusion that I lack compassion for those suffering from the mental health disease of addictive personality disorder .

      • Hahahahaha! Couldn’t have said it better myself!

  30. Gee, what a shock .. addicts abusing another substance. When will they realize that ANY substance that can be consumed by the human body in some way can also be misused and abused. Period. Also, some heroin addicts will keep gabapentin around so they can use it to help ease their withdrawal symptoms when they are unable to buy heroin or have to get clean for a drug test. I’m sure the DEA is slobbering to schedule this one as well. I never could take this or Lyrica, but I know it helps others in pain. I’m sure they’ll schedule this and make it that much harder for the legitimate pain patients who take this. Of course, addicts will always be able find it on the streets.

  31. Next thing we know, someone will discover that people are abusing alcohol. Then we can make it a controlled substance, thereby making it illegal to produce, traffic in, possess, or consume alcohol. We will be able to count on the D.E.A., federal/state/local law enforcement agencies, aided and abetted by the O.N.D.C.P., N.I.D.A, and N.I.A.A.A to crack down on all the evil “bottle mills” that have cruelly visited this epidemic of alcohol abuse, addiction, and death upon us. They’ll take care of it, then we will be able to breath a collective sigh of relief that anyone who needs alcohol (ethanol) for medical purposes will have to obtain the consent and permission (aka prescription) of their doctor, be drug tested, use only one pharmacy, and use the ethanol under the sober medical supervision of their physician.

    What else do I need to add to that little outburst of satire/parody to make it clear that all of these people have lost their collective mind, if they ever had it to start with.

    • They already did that in the 20″s. Haven’t you heard? Or are you like 10 or something?

    • Absolutely!! You’re funny, but it’s so true!! It didn’t work back then, and it isn’t going to work now. I actually think alcohol has killed more people than people who have chronic pain and need to take medication. Those people should think of all the drunk driver deaths out there (my youngest 14 year old sister included). I knew your post was satire. I loved it!

  32. I agree with kandiapple. all of it. That makes more sense than what we are getting from the powers that be.

  33. Where the Hell are the brains in the field of addiction coming from? I know many of them are actually recovering addicts, but maybe — and this isn’t a nice thing to say but I don’t care — they should have their cells counted.

    Why does P. Reddy think this is “surprising?” Go back and look at how long gabapentin has been abused. It’s surprising!

    The street users know long before the PhD’s what to abuse and how. How do you suppose they find out? Information comes usually from one original source, then it spreads. And it’s not hard to find these days.

    Are we so stupid a nation that we can’t see in front of our faces?

    I’m sick and tired of scientific information. How do we know who and what to trust. Organizations, government branches, studies, publications, and more, are all-knowing and lately wrong. I follow one website that calls out scientists who alter and falsify and mess up information, then publish it in their articles. Some of these bad apples are getting caught five or six times and just keep on without reprimand. I can’t remember the name of the site right now, but if anyone wants it, post a note here and I’ll put a link on a reply.

    This is all about education in my observations. It’s elementary, Watson, teach at an early age. Don’t blame teachers and parents. Blame a much-needed industry we don’t seem to have enough of.

    So here’s another example of folks are out there in either party land or in a very sad addiction situation getting high on medication the innocent, sick people need. Somebody has to ruin it for the majority, which tells me the education taking place on the streets is more intelligent than the education taking place in our country as a whole.

    • Omg…you are so right….

      • End game???—-Ultimately, what ever they do in the “between years” of slowly crunching control of EVERYTHING on society— ANY needed (ANY) will ultimately be controlled by Govt Control… vitamins will get you in jail… sounds crazy, but you know what I’m trying to say the trend is leading to in the next 20 years… ULTIMATE control of population through ALL FORMS of pharmaceuticals….I heard that from a guy named Adolph..

        • Absolutely!!! More things MADE illegal means more people can be harassed and imprisoned!!! SHOUT AT THE DEVIL!!! The def. of “narcotic is RIDICULOUS!!! Narcotic:”any substance that makes a person “sleepy”!!!!

    • All of us suffering civilians and Vets need to all start meeting up at the same place:
      Facebook: Pain Patients United

      Let’s start contacting media, legislators, doctors, Civil Rights Groups, ACLU, insurance cos, Medicare, VA, CDC, FDA and everyone we can. We only have more pain to face if we don’t. Come join the fight!

    • What’s the name of the web site? Interested.

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