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Pregabalin and Gabapentin

Pregabalin and gabapentin are dominating the headlines. With deaths linked to the drugs on the rise and a government consultation on control about to start, we took a closer look at the legal drugs flooding the black market.

What are Pregabalin and Gabapentin?

Pregabalin and gabapentin are prescription drugs used to treat epilepsy and anxiety. They are also taken to treat nerve pain caused by injuries or illnesses including diabetes and shingles.

How are Pregabalin and Gabapentin being linked to deaths?

While they are legal drugs via prescription, they are being sold illegally to individuals who may be taking them with other drugs and alcohol. This cocktail can increase the risk of heart failure and lead to overdoses.

According to a recent BBC investigation*, deaths linked to the drug have increased dramatically. In 2012, 4 deaths were linked to pregabalin, in 2016 this rose to 111. Similarly, a Herald Scotland report** claimed that gabapentin was linked to 154 deaths last year, rising from just 3 in 2008.

With claims that the drugs have flooded the black market, the government is about to start a consultation on control of the drugs, which could result in them being reclassified as Class C drugs.**

Testing for Pregabalin and Gabapentin

Lextox is the only UK drug testing laboratory to offer hair testing for pregabalin and gabapentin in the UK.

Similar to the other drugs we test for, we recommend hair testing for the following reasons:

  • We can test hair for specific substances. Targeted analysis means you can look for particular compounds.
  • It provides a unique window of detection covering months, rather than days that urine or oral fluid analysis can show. A month by month analysis is useful in profiling a pattern of drug use.
  • Results and Expert Reports can be issued in 6 working days or less of receiving the hair sample.
  • Results are legally defensible and are accepted in every UK family court.

To find out more about testing for pregabalin and gabapentin or to book your sample collection appointment call 029 2048 4141 or email [email protected].


* BBC video, Inside Out South West, 11th September

** Herald Scotland, 3rd October 2017

Published 27/09/17 – All information correct at time of publication