Gabapentin and pregabalin are known anecdotally and via some published evidence to be highly sought after by some patients attending prison healthcare, either for their own use or for trading. Other evidence suggests anecdotal examples of abuse in the wider community. Both these medicines are indicated for epilepsy, neuropathic pain and generalised anxiety disorder.The latter two indications are the more common for both medicines in primary care and prison settings and are covered by NICE guidelines.
A recent national audit has investigated the use of gabapentin and pregabalin within 94 prison settings. The audit covered 1819 prisoners who were prescribed gabapentin or pregabalin in 86 of the 94 prisons included. There was no prescribing in eight sites.