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Controlling gabapentinoids under examination

The Department of Health is engaged in a process to determine whether gabapentinoids should be scheduled as controlled drugs, the Medical Independent (MI) has been informed.

A Department spokesperson told MI: “The Health Products Regulatory Authority and the Department of Health are in ongoing discussions in relation to potential for misuse or abuse of gabapentinoids. Data is being gathered on the matter before considering whether to recommend the scheduling of gabapentinoids as controlled substances.”

In a recent interview with MI, the then Medical Council President Dr Rita Doyle said pregabalin and gabapentin should be made controlled drugs in Ireland. She said addiction to pregabalin is a “huge” issue in this country.

Pregabalin, also known by the brand name Lyrica, is licenced for use in epilepsy, generalised anxiety disorder, and peripheral and central neuropathic pain. Gabapentin, also known by the brand name Neurontin, is licenced for epilepsy and peripheral neuropathic pain.

Dr Doyle noted that pregabalin and gabapentin had been made controlled drugs in the UK “and I certainly foresee that will happen here”. An over-prescribing working group at the Medical Council is also discussing prescription of opioids in Ireland.

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