BMA leaders have backed calls to reclassify pregabalin as controlled drug following evidence it is increasingly used recreationally and in prison populations, with greater evidence of addiction.
Attendees at the BMA’s Annual Representative’s Meeting in Bournemouth today passed a motion calling for the BMA to ‘lobby to make pregabalin a controlled drug’.
Making pregabalin a Schedule 3 drug under the Misuse of Drugs Regulations (2001) would mean it cannot be repeat dispensed and prescriptions will only be valid for one month.
This follows a letter to Home Office officials from Professor Les Iverson, chair of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, highlighting a spike in drug poisoning cases mentioning pregabalin.
It recommended that pregabalin – alongside gabapentin – be ‘controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 as Class C substances, and scheduled under the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 (as amended) as Schedule 3’.
Drug company Pfizer, which markets both drugs, ‘strongly disagreed’ with this recommendation which it said was based on ‘potentially misleading information’.
And a study published in the journal Addiction in May suggested GPs should consider alternatives after it found evidence that gabapentinoids were linked to overdose deaths when used with heroin or other opioids.
The motion passed in full
BMA’s YORKSHIRE REGIONAL COUNCIL:
That this meeting:-
i) notes the widespread problems of abuse and addiction with pregabalin amongst users of illicit drugs;
ii) notes the contribution of pregabalin to bullying and violence in prison populations;
iii) calls for the BMA to lobby the appropriate authorities to make pregabalin a controlled drug.