Effects of pregabalin on smoking behavior, withdrawal symptoms, and cognitive
performance in smokers.
Author(s): Herman AI, Waters AJ, McKee SA, Sofuoglu M.
Affiliation(s): School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry and VA Connecticut Healthcare
System, Yale University, 950 Campbell Ave., Bldg. 36/116A4, West Haven, CT 06516,
Publication date & source: 2012, Psychopharmacology (Berl). , 220(3):611-7
RATIONALE: In preclinical and clinical studies, medications enhancing the GABA
neurotransmission attenuate nicotine reward. Pregabalin, a GABA analogue,
presumably interacts with brain glutamate and GABA neurotransmission. The goal of
this study was to determine pregabalin's effects on smoking behavior, nicotine
withdrawal, craving for cigarettes, and cognitive performance.
METHODS: Twenty-four smokers participated in an outpatient double-blind,
placebo-controlled, crossover study. Subjects had a 4-day treatment period with
either pregabalin (300 mg/day) or placebo and following a washout period were
then crossed over for 4 days to the other treatment. In each treatment period,
starting at midnight of day 1, participants were asked to stop smoking until the
experimental session on day 4. During the experimental session measures of ad lib
smoking behavior, tobacco withdrawal, craving for cigarettes, and cognitive
performance were obtained.
RESULTS: Pregabalin treatment, compared to placebo, did not reduce the smoking
behavior during the first 3 days of treatment or during ad lib smoking period.
Pregabalin treatment attenuated some tobacco withdrawal symptoms including
ratings of anxious, irritable, and frustrated in abstinent smokers. Pregabalin
treatment also attenuated the subjective ratings of "liking" in response to
smoking. Under pregabalin treatment, smokers made more errors in a sustained
CONCLUSIONS: These findings provide limited support for pregabalin as a treatment
for nicotine addiction.