Gabapentin Being Misused to Enhance Opioid High

The nerve pain drug gabapentin is increasingly being misused to enhance the high of opioids, Kaiser Health News reports.

Gabapentin, sold under the brand name Neurontin, is approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat epilepsy and nerve pain. It is prescribed for a wide range of conditions from restless legs syndrome to alcoholism. The drug, which is not addictive, can help stave off drug withdrawals, the article notes. In May, gabapentin was the fifth-most prescribed drug in the United States.

Gabapentin can bypass the blocking effects of medications used to treat addiction, allowing patients to get high while they are in treatment.

A study published last year found about one-fifth of people who abuse opioids also misuse gabapentin.