Drug epidemic ensnares 25-year-old pill for nerve pain

Drug epidemic ensnares 25-year-old pill for nerve pain
This Thursday, May 3, 2018 photo shows bottles of gabapentin at Daniel's Pharmacy in San Francisco. The 25-year-old non-opioid pain drug is one of the most prescribed medications in the U.S., ranking ninth over 2017, according to prescription tracker GoodRx. Researchers attribute the recent surge to tighter restrictions on opioids, which have left doctors searching for alternatives for their patients. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

WASHINGTON (AP) — State and federal health officials are grappling with a new drug of abuse.

It’s a 25-year-old generic pill long seen as a low risk way to treat seizures, nerve pain and other ailments.

The drug called gabapentin (GA-ba-PEN-tin) has grown into one of the most prescribed medications in the U.S.

Researchers attribute the trend to recent restrictions on opioid painkillers, which are also driving changes in the drugs that Americans abuse

The Food and Drug Administration is now studying patterns of prescribing and illicit use of gabapentin and will soon share its findings.