NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde Area Drug and Therapeutics Committee
Greater Glasgow and Clyde Medicines
Medicines Update

Gabapentin and pregabalin: risk of misuse:

Public Health England recently published Advice for prescribers on the risk of the misuse of pregabalin and gabapentin. This provides detailed information on the potential for misuse and suggestions for balanced and rational use. 


A summary of the advice with some key messages has approved jointly by Controlled Drugs Accountable Officers’ Network Executive Group, Scottish Prescribing Advisers Association & Specialist Pharmacists in Substance Misuse.


Key Messages

  • Prescribers should be aware of the risk of dependence misuse and diversion as well as the potential benefits of these drugs.
  • Practitioners should be able to identify and manage misuse if it arises as a result of prescribing.
  • Patients should be given enough information to consent to the treatment plan, should be aware of the likely efficacy of the drugs and the risk of harms, including dependence.
  • Prescribe with caution for patients with a known or suspected propensity to misuse, divert or become dependent on drugs.
  • Less harmful alternatives can often be used first-line instead of pregabalin or gabapentin, and may be preferred in higher risk settings or in patients more likely to be harmed.