Pregabalin is approved for the management of neuropathic pain, partial-onset seizures, and fibromyalgia. Although it is considered to have low potential for abuse, reports of misuse of pregabalin are emerging. The present study contributes to this literature by presenting preliminary evidence of pregabalin misuse. Mixed method interviews were conducted with prescription and/or illicit opioid (mis)users who reported a history of pregabalin misuse (N = 5). During semi-structured interviews, respondents provided descriptions of this practice, including motivation, route of administration, source, and drugs used/misused in combination with pregabalin. Motivations for pregabalin misuse included the self-treatment of physical pain (N = 1) and to achieve a desired psychoactive effect and/or combat opioid withdrawal symptoms (N = 4). Respondents described the misuse of pregabalin to potentiate the effects of heroin and cocaine, to feel “tipsy,” and to experiment. We believe this report represents the first detailed contextual data about the misuse of pregabalin in the U.S. These misuse practices may represent an early indication of a growing problem. The recent permissibility of lower price generic versions has the potential to increase availability, decrease prices, and exacerbate pregabalin misuse.
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