Pregabalin: Potential for Addiction and a Possible Glutamatergic Mechanism

Sci Rep. 2019 Oct 22;9(1):15136. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-51556-4.


Drug addiction remains a prevalent and fatal disease worldwide that carries significant social and economic impacts. Recent reports suggest illicit pregabalin (Lyrica) use may be increasing among youth, however the addictive potential of pregabalin has not been well established. Drug seeking behavior and chronic drug use are associated with deficits in glutamate clearance and activation of postsynaptic glutamatergic receptors. In the current study, we investigated the abuse potential of pregabalin using conditioned place preference (CPP) paradigm. Different doses of pregabalin (30, 60, 90, and 120 mg/kg) were used to assess the seeking behavior in mice. Glutamate homeostasis is maintained by glutamate transporter type-1 (GLT-1), which plays a vital role in clearing the released glutamate from synapses and drug seeking behavior. Therefore, we investigated the role of glutamate in pregabalin-seeking behavior with ceftriaxone (CEF), a potent GLT-1 upregulator. Mice treated with pregabalin 60 and 90 mg/kg doses demonstrated drug seeking-like behavior, which was significantly blocked by CEF pretreatment. These results suggest that pregabalin-induced CPP was successfully modulated by CEF which could serve as a lead compound for developing treatment for pregabalin abuse.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Conditioning, Classical
  • Glutamic Acid / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Pregabalin / adverse effects*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / etiology*
  • Time Factors


  • Glutamic Acid
  • Pregabalin