NEW ORLEANS — Inappropriate use of gabapentin is increasing, according to Alan Dow, MD, MSHA, a general internist at Virginia Commonwealth University and member of the ACP Internal Medicine Meeting planning committee.
“Gabapentin is a medicine that more and more is being used and abused,” he said. “What’s interesting about the abuse profile of gabapentin is that it is used as an adjunct, so people who have opioid use disorders and are abusing things like heroin will use gabapentin to increase the high and prevent withdrawal.”
Injectable bupropion use is also rising, particularly in the prison settings, to obtain a high similar to that of cocaine, Dow added, saying these examples underscore the need for primary care physicians and internists to think about how medicines can be used for other than their initially approved purpose and to teach patients about proper storage and disposal.
He also discussed the potential for marijuana addiction, and how clinicians need to consider performing assessments for marijuana abuse disorder as the drug is legalized in more states.
Dow moderated a panel that also provided updates for internists and primary care physicians on pulmonology and psychiatry.
Disclosure: Dow reports no relevant financial disclosures.