There is increasing concern about the dramatic rise in the prescribing of pregabalin in Australia and around the world. New research published in the Medical Journal of Australia has underlined this trend: The study examined pregabalin misuse‐related ambulance attendances, pregabalin prescription rates (each 6‐monthly); patient characteristics, including age, sex, history of drug misuse or psychiatric problems, concurrent use of other sedatives, and current suicidal ideation and self‐harm. There were 1201 pregabalin misuse‐related attendances during the study period which spanned from 2012 – 2017. The raw rate of pregabalin-related issues requiring ambulance services was 0.28 cases per 100 000 population in the first half of 2012, and increased to 3.32 cases per 100 000 in the second half of 2017 (nearly a 10-fold increase). In nearly half of all cases, the issues involved people with a history that may have contraindicated prescribing pregabalin. Pregabalin was frequently misused with other sedatives (especially benzodiazepines) and many cases were associated with suicide attempts. People who misused pregabalin with other sedatives more frequently presented with moderate to severe impairments of consciousness, but the frequency of suicide attempts was similar whether other sedatives were concurrently used or not. This data further underlines the need for the judicious use of pregabalin, given that this surrogate marker for drug-related harm clearly indicates that the prevalence of serious issues attributable to the drug is rising dramatically.
Pregabalin loading up Australian ambulances
Feb 5, 2019