Public warned against misuse of anxiety drug

ABU DHABI — The Health Authority – Abu Dhabi (HAAD) has warned the public, including doctors, pharmacists and pharmacies against the misuse of Pregabalin, a neuropathic pain relief drug.

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Published: Tue 28 Jun 2011, 12:11 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 7:41 AM

According to HAAD, it has received numerous reports involving the abuse of the drug. “HAAD has received reports of theft (of Pregabalin) from pharmacies as well as pharmacists being threatened to provide Pregabalin. We advise all pharmacies to report promptly to police as well as notify HAAD Narcotics Officer (call 02-4193375) of any such incidents,” a recent circular issued by the authority to healthcare centres and pharmacies warned.

According to the authority, the drug is used for the treatment of neuropathic and generalised anxiety disorder. Evidence shows that it produces some pharmacological effects characterised by anxiolytics, and has been abused for its positive psychic effects (euphoria). “We remind you of the Prescriptions Only Medicines (MOP) status of Pregabalin, which must only be dispensed against a valid prescription,” the authority warned pharmacists. HAAD further reminded the prescription supply of the drug was limited to 30 days of treatment only and for all dispensed, pharmacies must retain the original prescriptions.

According to pharmacies in the capital, they received the circular on June 15. “Here we have the circular displayed. We never sell drugs without a valid prescription. We have to abide by the health authority rules and regulations,” said a pharmacist at Alya Pharmacy.

A pharmacist at another pharmacy said they never had an incident where people came for the drug without a valid prescription, and nor were threatened for not selling the drug without a prescription.

He said: “We are very strict about selling drugs without a prescription. And so far, we have had no problem where people come and force us to sell them medicine without a prescription. Most of our customers are blue-collared Asian workers who cannot afford to invite a problem.”

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