BBC News. Pregabalin: What is it and why can it be dangerous?. 2024. https// (accessed 26 March 2024)

Care Quality Commission. The safer management of controlled drugs: Annual update 2022. 2023. https// (accessed 26 March 2024)

Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency. Drug-Related and Drug-Misuse Deaths 2011-2021. 2022. https// (accessed 26 March 2024)

Controlled drug prescribing

02 April 2024
Volume 6 · Issue 4

Welcome to this April issue of the Journal of Prescribing Practice.

Recently, in a lecture around legal aspects of prescribing there was a discussion on classifications of controlled drugs and why some start not controlled but then go on to be in one of the five schedules and three classes. A good discussion was had and examples given, but not the one I read about just this week making the BBC headlines (BBC News, 2024). Pregabalin and gabapentin are drugs used for epilepsy, nerve pain and anxiety, and only became Class C drugs under the Misuse of Drugs Act (1971) in 2019. Since being introduced in the US and UK in 1993, pregabalin has spread across the world, but more recently has been linked to a number of deaths both here and abroad. Recent figures from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) show that pregabalin prescribing has gone up by 5% to 8 636 909 items in 2002 (CQC, 2023).

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