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Purpose/Background: With increased controls on opioid prescribing, the CDC has suggested prescribing gabapentinoids as a first-line alternative to opioids for pain. However, there have been an increasing number of reports of gabapentinoid misuse. Drug use forums are online spaces where individuals can anonymously post about their drug use experiences and may provide insight on gabapentinoid misuse. The purpose of this study was to extract and analyze posts from the drug use forum, Erowid, to examine reports of gabapentinoid misuse.

Methods: Data for the study was drawn from 53 pregabalin forum posts and 89 gabapentin forum posts by unique usernames. In order to be considered for this analysis, the poster had to report recreational gabapentinoid use. Posts were thematically analyzed by gender, age, gabapentinoid source, concomitant substances, and subjective experiences.

Results: Forum posts were created by 117 men, 19 women, and 6 users of undisclosed genders. The majority of forum posts were by 18-24 year olds. Erowid users reported obtaining gabapentinoids by stealing, misreporting symptoms to providers, and purchasing from a dealer. Erowid users reported taking gabapentinoids simultaneously with benzodiazepines, cocaine, alcohol, opiates, and heroin among a myriad of other drugs. Erowid users had varying subjective experiences while taking gabapentionoids, including: increased sociability, euphoria, hallucinations, dissociation, painlessness, and numbness.

Conclusions: Erowid users who report gabapentinoid misuse report obtaining the gabapentinoids in various ways and mixing them with potentially harmful substances. Medical professionals should be aware of the abuse potential of gabapentinoids and their increasing popularity within the drug use community.

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gabapentinoid, pregabalin, gabapentin, nursing, pharmacology, schedule drugs



A Qualitative Descriptive Analysis of Erowid Gabapentinoid Forum Posts

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