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Significant prevalence of gabapentin misuse seen in pain patients

August 5, 2016
by Gary A. Enos, Editor
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Research presented this week at the Annual Scientific Meeting of AACC (the American Association for Clinical Chemistry) indicates that a substantial number of prescription opioid users being monitored for compliance or illicit use are misusing the anti-seizure medication gabapentin.

Testing samples derived mainly from pain clinics in three states found a one-in-five prevalence of positive tests for gabapentin in this patient group, ARIA Diagnostics reported. Physicians generally do not screen for abuse of gabapentin when testing for compliance with other medication regimens, but use of the drug can enhance a high among those using opioids or other drug classes.

According to the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN), visits to emergency departments in metropolitan areas for gabapentin misuse increased by five times from 2008-2011.

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