Intended for healthcare professionals

Views & Reviews From the Frontline

Bad medicine: gabapentin and pregabalin

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: (Published 08 November 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f6747
  1. Des Spence, general practitioner, Glasgow
  1. destwo{at}

People have died from the drugs I have prescribed. I rationalised that these drugs were prescribed in good faith, in line with guidelines, and deaths were the result of misuse. But this offers no comfort to my sense of guilt. Prescription drug misuse is a problem, especially psychoactive drugs such as opioids and benzodiazepine. And there is an iatrogenic epidemic of harm in the US with nearly 15 000 deaths annually from prescribed painkillers. This is the tiny tip of an abuse iceberg, with an estimated 12 million Americans misusing these drugs recreationally.1 We have a social and …

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