Potential Benefits of N-Acetylcysteine in Preventing Pregabalin-Induced Seeking-Like Behavior

Healthcare (Basel). 2021 Mar 29;9(4):376. doi: 10.3390/healthcare9040376.


Substance-use disorder is globally prevalent and responsible for numerous social and medical problems. Pregabalin (Lyrica), typically used to treat diabetic neuropathy, has recently emerged as a drug of abuse. Drug abuse is associated with several neuronal changes, including the downregulation of glutamate transporters such as glutamate transporter 1 and cystine/glutamate antiporter. We investigated the effects of N-acetylcysteine, a glutamate transporter 1 and xCT upregulator, on pregabalin addiction using a conditioned place preference paradigm. Pregabalin (60 mg/kg) was found to induce conditioned place preference when compared to a vehicle. A 100 mg/kg dose of N-acetylcysteine was found to block pregabalin-seeking behaviors. These results support previous findings showing that glutamate transporters play an important role in pregabalin-induced seeking behaviors. N-acetylcysteine may represent a beneficial agent in preventing the abuse potential of pregabalin.

Keywords: CPP; GLT-1; NAC; addiction; pregabalin; xCT.