Pregabalin And Gabapentin May Become Class C Drugs
News that the Government will look at reclassifying two prescription drugs – pregabalin and gabapentin – as class C drugs has been welcomed as ‘potentially life saving.’
In recent months, Addaction has been raising awareness of the rising number of deaths linked to the drugs, calling for stronger guidelines to be given to prescribers.
The news this morning from Sarah Newton MP is that the Government has listened to the concerns of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) and will make them class C drugs, subject to consultation.
Lead clinical pharmacist Rachel Britton said: “The consultation on reclassification will raise the awareness of prescribers of the abuse potential of these drugs, and I hope this will lead to careful and thoughtful prescribing especially to people with a history of substance misuse.
“There’s a reasonable comparison to be drawn with tramadol, which was reclassified as class C in 2014 in response to an increase in related deaths. Since then, the number of deaths has begun to fall and we’d hope to see the same for pregabalin and gabapentin.
“The reclassification reduces the availability of the drugs on the black market, because prescribers are advised not to issue prescriptions longer than 30 days. It also makes people more careful about whom to prescribe them to, recognising the abuse potential.”
Individuals who have developed problematic use of pregabalin or gabapentin should be encouraged to speak to their GP and a specialist substance misuse service.