By Ian Hamilton and Harry Sumnall in The Conversation.
Gabapentin and pregabalin, two widely used prescription drugs, are now subject to increased controls in the UK, which means they are now reclassified as class C controlled substances.
These drugs are licensed to treat epilepsy, anxiety, peripheral and neuropathic pain (pain caused by damage or injury to the nerves), but they are known to produce feelings of euphoria, calmness and relaxation. It is this mixed profile of effects that has contributed to their wide use. But these drugs can also have serious side effects, especially when combined with other drugs – and have been associated with use of illicit street drugs.
Under the new classification, prescribers can no longer issue electronic prescriptions – they will have to be handwritten. It is also now illegal to possess these drugs without a prescription, and it is illegal to supply or sell the drugs to others.
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