Prescription painkillers reclassified amid addiction concerns

pharmafile | October 17, 2018 | News story | Research and Development UK, addiction, classification, painkillers, policy 

Two commonly prescribed painkillers are set to be put under tighter controls in the United Kingdom after a number of deaths were linked to their use.

The painkillers, pregabalin and gabapentin, are set to be reclassified as class C controlled substances amid concerns that the prescription only drugs were being abused.

The drugs are set to be reclassified from April of next year. The drugs, which are used to treat nerve pain, epilepsy and anxiety, can induce an elevated mood in those who take them. However the medicines can also have potentially serious side effects, particularly when used in combination with other drugs.

There has also been an increase in use of the drugs by prisoners and drug abusers.

Minister for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability Victoria Atkins commented: “Any death related to the misuse of drugs is a tragedy. We accepted expert advice and will now change the law to help prevent misuse of pregabalin and gabapentin and addiction to them. While drug misuse is lower now than it was 10 years ago, we remain committed to reducing it and the harm it causes. That is why we have published a comprehensive strategy to tackle the illicit drug trade, protect the most vulnerable and help those with drug dependency to recover and turn their lives around.”

The law changes will still allow doctors to prescribe the drugs, however doctors will now have to physically sign prescriptions, while pharmacists must dispense the drugs within 28 days of them being prescribed.

Louis Goss

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