BBC highlights pregabalin problem in South West

Clinical

BBC highlights pregabalin problem in South West

Ahead of the government consultation on the control of pregabalin, BBC programme Inside Out South West has highlighted the danger of the widely prescribed drug on the black market.

The report this week stated that since the cost of the drug – prescribed for pain, anxiety and epilepsy – dropped in price from around £100 for a monthly dose to £4, more is being prescribed and more is getting onto the black market. The dealers the BBC spoke to obtained the drug on prescription from their GPs.

The news item told the story of a drug addict of 20 years who regularly takes 'pregabs'.

Pharmacist, Ian Findlay of Morton's Total Pharmacy in Axminster, featured in the report explaining the dangers of high doses of pregabalin. "In high doses it causes respiratory suppression and slowing of the heart," he said. "Opiods like heroin and alcohol do these too, so a cocktail of all three increases the risk of the patient's heart stopping." 

In 2012, four deaths were linked to pregablain misuse, last year that figure rose to 111. The upcoming government consultation could lead to it becoming a class C drug.

You can see the full report here. 

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