Gabapentin & Pregabalin classified as Class C controlled substances

Just heard today on TV lunch-time news in UK that Gabapentin and Pregabalin are to be classified as Class C controlled substances from today, 1st April 2019 mainly as a result of gross misuse causing deaths most prevalently in Scotland.

One would imagine such classification will result in fewer doctors prescribing these drugs generally in future due to Class restrictions. The drugs are not being withdrawn so will still be available for existing patients.

The restrictions mean, and here I quote:

prescriptions of Pregabalin and Gabapentin will also be limited to 30 days’ treatment and repeat prescriptions will not be issued. Any prescription received must be dispensed within 28 days.

Apparently due to the classification pharmacists will not be able to accept electronic prescriptions for these drugs.

How this reclassification will affect UK residents taking these drugs for MAV Long-term I don’t know but there’s no mention of the drugs being withdrawn. Presumably users need to check it out with their GP. Helen

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Wow, quite a scoop there Helen, blimey!

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Wow!! My spinal Dr who gave it to me said it was safe and non addictive. When I researched it online, it also appeared very safe. In what way are they misusing it? It doesn’t give me any high feelings…

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I think the great article @Manatee came up with offers a more detailed explanation to the one on TV News. People are using in high quantities way over prescribed levels, combined with other drugs and, in the cases quoted on TV at least copious quantities of alcohol, to get high. Unforunately many end up dying as a result. Quite how much one can ‘blame’ the Pregabalin or Gabapentin for this, I’m none too sure.

In UK at least these drugs have had bad press for sometime and it’s common knowledge it seems that they are highly addictive. In fact I was only discussing that with my brother in law who takes it for pain last week. I think low levels over longer period makes for worst addiction but don’t quote me on that! However they are very powerful drugs and used by huge numbers of people for neuropathic pain. I personally know at least three people, two of whom are relatives that use it. All for chronic pain, two long-term and the other pre and post major back operation in huge quantities short term. He had no trouble getting off it. The other two are still on. I recall @sputnik2 telling us on here last Summer Dr S prescribed her Pregabalin but her doctor refused to allow her to take it. Interestingly she ended up on Pizotifen which was withdrawn some years ago in the US on safety grounds. Quite ironic really but an interesting coincidence. Helen

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Yep. I think I only just realised I must be a Frustrated Closet Newspaper Reporter at heart! Sad really, what can make one happy on occasion. Helen

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I’ve heard on the news here that it is usually prescribed alongside opiods in the US, as in enhances the effect /high? that is why they were considering restricting it…

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@dizzy3. That’s interesting. I got the impression from both my spine Dr and Neuro that these drugs were to be used in place of opioids, similar to cymbalta or amitriptyline. It’s very hard to get opioids from a Dr now in the US. When I first saw my spine Dr, I had to sign an acknowledgement to the effect that the practice does not use opioids.

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Well obviously the medical profession have been ‘in the Know’ about all this for some considerable time. None of the three I know who take Gabapentin take any opioids with them but three isn’t representative. No doubt those abusing these drugs probably do and I very much doubt they obtain any of it on legitimate prescription. Helen

yeah, I think they were prescribed together. Gabapentin by itself does not have that addictive issue that opioids have. I also a few years ago went to a spinal clinic (I have a fusion of two cervicals) and I was in pain and they also made me sign that they did not use ANY pain medication. Treatment was all physical rehab.

Wow! I just had to acknowledge that they don’t give opioids, and that I wasn’t on any. This was the spinal interventionist that did my cervical epidural. He’s a big believer in using gabapentin (low dose- 100mg) for several months to try to calm the nerve down.

@dizzy3 did your cervical spinal fusion affect or cause your MAV? Just curious- I may be facing the same someday.

The headache specialist i saw today told me Gabapentin waa a “waste of time” for migraine.

no that i can think of, i had my fussion in 2006. My mav came post partum in jan 2018. The fusion was actually a very easy process compared to mav!

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@mavmary. Not quite as ‘harmless’ as reading on the internet might suggest it seems.