Subjective, psychomotor, and physiological effects of pregabalin alone and in combination with oxycodone in healthy volunteers

Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2012 Jan;100(3):560-5. doi: 10.1016/j.pbb.2011.10.023. Epub 2011 Nov 4.


Pregabalin is an anticonvulsant drug indicated for neuropathic disorders and fibromyalgia. Some chronic pain patients suffering from these disorders take both this drug and an opioid for pain relief. Pregabalin is a scheduled drug under the Controlled Substances Act. The subjective effects of this drug have not been well-characterized, and the extent to which it alters the subjective effects of opioids has not been studied to the best of our knowledge. Using a double-blind, randomized, crossover design, 16 healthy volunteers were administered (in separate sessions) capsules containing placebo, 75 mg pregabalin, 150 mg pregabalin, 10 mg oxycodone, and 75 mg pregabalin combined with 10 mg oxycodone. Subjective, psychomotor, and physiological measures were assessed during each of the five sessions. Pregabalin produced dose-related increases in some subjective effects and decreased respiration rate, but did not impact on psychomotor performance. Abuse liability-related subjective effects such as drug liking and desire to take the drug again were not increased by either pregabalin dose. Oxycodone produced increases in several subjective effects, including ratings of drug liking. When 75 mg pregabalin was combined with oxycodone some subjective effects were altered relative to placebo, in contrast to when each drug was tested alone. Liking of oxycodone was not increased by 75 mg pregabalin. However, recent studies have suggested that this drug is abused, and we would recommend that further psychopharmacological studies with pregabalin are warranted, including a study assessing its abuse liability across a range of doses in sedative abusers.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analgesics / administration & dosage
  • Analgesics / adverse effects*
  • Analgesics, Opioid / adverse effects*
  • Anticonvulsants / administration & dosage
  • Anticonvulsants / adverse effects*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Combinations
  • Drug Interactions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neurotoxicity Syndromes / physiopathology*
  • Neurotoxicity Syndromes / psychology
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Oxycodone / adverse effects*
  • Pregabalin
  • Psychomotor Performance / drug effects
  • Respiratory Rate / drug effects
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Toxicity Tests, Acute
  • Young Adult
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / administration & dosage
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / adverse effects
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / analogs & derivatives*


  • Analgesics
  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Drug Combinations
  • Pregabalin
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
  • Oxycodone