Regulating gabapentin as a drug of abuse: A survey study of Kentucky community pharmacists

James Blackmer, Eric Lindahl, Audra Strahl, Aric Schadler, Patricia R. Freeman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objectives: As the number of gabapentin prescriptions has increased, so have reports of its misuse and diversion. This trend has led some states to closer monitoring of gabapentin dispensing through prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs). The objective of this study was to collect and analyze Kentucky community pharmacists’ perceptions of gabapentin misuse and diversion, and their support or opposition to regulatory efforts to reclassify the drug as a controlled substance (CS). Methods: Responses were collected using an online survey sent by e-mail to all pharmacists practicing in Kentucky in August 2016. The survey collected basic demographic characteristics and pharmacists’ experience with gabapentin dispensing. Descriptive statistics were calculated using question response frequencies. Pearson's chi-squared statistics were calculated to examine the distribution of support for gabapentin as a CS in Kentucky across each of the categories of the individual variables. Logistic regression was used to estimate the effects of pharmacist demographic characteristics and experiences with gabapentin on their support of gabapentin reclassification as a CS. Results: One thousand seven hundred sixty-nine surveys were collected (response rate = 34.2%). Responding community pharmacists (n = 1084) believe that the abuse and diversion of gabapentin are a problem in their communities, with 9 in 10 (89.6%) indicating that they agree or strongly agree. More than three-fourths (87.5%) indicated support for reclassifying gabapentin as a CS. Common reasons for opposition to gabapentin regulatory changes were that they would not reduce or eliminate abuse (45.8%) and that they would be an inconvenience to patients (17.0%). Pharmacists practicing in independent pharmacies and pharmacists in practice greater than 20 years were less likely to indicate support for gabapentin reclassification. Conclusion: Kentucky community pharmacists express considerable concern over the possible misuse and diversion of gabapentin and widely support regulatory changes reclassifying gabapentin as a CS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)379-382
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the American Pharmacists Association
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 American Pharmacists Association®

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (nursing)
  • Pharmacy
  • Pharmacology


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