9 DRUG ABUSE AND DEPENDENCE
Abuse is the intentional, non-therapeutic use of a drug, even once, for its desirable psychological or physiological effects. Misuse is the intentional use, for therapeutic purposes, of a drug by an individual in a way other than prescribed by a health care provider or for whom it was not prescribed.
Gabapentin does not exhibit affinity for benzodiazepine, opioid (mu, delta or kappa), or cannabinoid 1 receptor sites. Gabapentin misuse and abuse have been reported in the postmarketing setting and published literature. Most of the individuals described in these reports had a history of polysubstance abuse. Some of these individuals were taking higher than recommended doses of gabapentin for unapproved uses. When prescribing NEURONTIN, carefully evaluate patients for a history of drug abuse and observe them for signs and symptoms of gabapentin misuse or abuse (e.g., self-dose escalation and drug-seeking behavior). The abuse potential of gabapentin has not been evaluated in human studies.
Physical dependence is a state that develops as a result of physiological adaptation in response to repeated drug use, manifested by withdrawal signs and symptoms after abrupt discontinuation or a significant dose reduction of a drug. There are rare postmarketing reports of individuals experiencing withdrawal symptoms shortly after discontinuing higher than recommended doses of gabapentin used to treat illnesses for which the drug is not approved. Such symptoms included agitation, disorientation and confusion after suddenly discontinuing gabapentin that resolved after restarting gabapentin. The dependence potential of gabapentin has not been evaluated in human studies.