A study indicates that misuse of prescription drug pregabalin, typically used to treat epilepsy and anxiety, among drug users is a “serious emerging issue”.
The study into pregabalin, sold as Lyrica, analysed 498 urine samples from 440 people who were opioid substitution patients. Of the 440 people, 39 tested positive for pregabalin, representing 9.2% of the total sample.
According to the study: “Only 10 patients from this group were prescribed this drug to our knowledge, thus giving an estimated rate of misuse of 7.0%.”
The study was conducted by researchers at the HSE National Drug Treatment Centre Laboratory in Dublin, and the findings have been published in the Irish Medical Journal.
Other drugs detected in pregabalin-positive patients were opiates (31.8%), cocaine (11.4%), benzodiazepine (79.5%), and cannabis (77.8%).
“Our study confirms that pregabalin abuse is taking place amongst the addiction services population. We believe that misuse of this prescription drug is a serious emerging issue which should be monitored carefully.”
Source: Noel Baker, Irish Examiner, 08/01/16