The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) have published updated guidelines on the diagnosis and management of epilepsies.
The update reflects the change to the status of the medicines, gabapentin and pregabalin.
The update states:
'Because of a risk of abuse and dependence, gabapentin and pregabalin are controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 as class C substances and scheduled under the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 as schedule 3 (as of 1 April 2019). Tables have been amended and a footnote has been added to this guideline to reflect this change.'
Some prescription medicines are controlled under the Misuse of Drugs legislation (and subsequent amendments). These medicines are called controlled medicines or controlled drugs.
Stricter legal controls apply to controlled medicines to prevent them:
- being misused
- being obtained illegally
- causing harm
For example, these legal controls govern how controlled medicines can be:
Controlled medicines are classified (by law) based on their benefit when used in medical treatment and their harm if misused.
Class C medicines represent those thought to have the least capacity for harm, and so the Act demands more lenient punishment.
About epilepsy (source NHS)
Epilepsy is a common condition that affects the brain and causes frequent seizures.
Seizures are bursts of electrical activity in the brain that temporarily affect how it works. They can cause a wide range of symptoms.
Epilepsy can start at any age, but usually starts either in childhood or in people over 60. it's often lifelong, but can sometimes get slowly better over time.
Lennox-Gastaut syndrome is one of the most severe forms of epilepsy in children. Its symptoms include multiple types of seizure (fit), abnormal electrical activity in the brain, learning disability and behavioural problems.
NHS website for epilepsy
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NHS information about pregabalin and gabapentin
Reporting of suspected adverse reactions
Reporting suspected adverse reactions (side effects) after authorisation of the medicinal product is important. It allows continued monitoring of the benefit/risk balance of the medicinal product. Healthcare professionals or patients are asked to report any suspected adverse reactions via the Yellow Card Scheme at yellowcard.mhra.gov.uk or search for MHRA Yellow Card in the Google Play or Apple App Store.
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