Gabapentin is prescribed off-label for several conditions including:
- anxiety disorders
- bipolar disorder
Gabapentin is also used off-label to treat chronic pain (as an alternative to opioid medications), alcohol use disorder (AUD), and substance use disorder (SUD).
Today there’s growing concern about increased misuse of gabapentin. Greater numbers of prescriptions means more access to gabapentin.
The risk of misuse is higher among those with an existing SUD — 15 to 22 percent. Overdose deaths have been reported when combined with other drugs.
Studies show an increase in overdose deaths in recent years linked to the rise in the number of overall prescriptions. Certain drugs like opioids taken together increase the danger of overdose.
Several states are currently considering legislation to help stop this misuse. Many have put special monitoring requirements in place for gabapentin.