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Gabapentin Reclassification to Schedule 1 Drug | Ask A Vet!

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Gabapentin Reclassification to Schedule 1 Drug
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The Rainbow Bridge



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4 April 2019 - 7:48 pm
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Dr. Pam, I just read that in the UK, their office on drug controls is reclassifying Gabapentin from a Schedule 3 drug to a Schedule 1, because of abuse by humans. Here is the announcement:

Reclassification of pregabalin and gabapentin to Schedule 3 drugs from 1 April 2019

Apparently vets will only be allowed to give a 28-day prescription with no refills, and must justify a longer rx by jumping through some hoops. I fear this could lead to a lot of pets who won’t be getting proper pain control sad

Do you happen to know if there’s any talk of this happening here in the U.S.?

And also, for our UK members, what if anything can they do if a vet is reluctant to prescribe or continue the prescription? Are there any good alternatives to Gabapentin?

Thanks for any insight you can give. 

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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4 April 2019 - 10:35 pm
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I have heard talk of this here in the USA but I do not think there are any plans to change anything in the near future.  Apparently gabapentin can potentiate the effects of fentanyl and possibly some other high level opiates such as heroin so if people take gabapentin (I am not sure at what dosages) then they need less of the opiate to feel high.  I am not sure how many people take gabapentin alone or with NSAIDS to manage pain (more people take Lyrica and other similar drugs) so animals will more likely be affected by changes to a scheduled drug.  Right now gabapentin is not a scheduled drug and I think tramadol is a Schedule IV drug.  A Schedule II drug can only be written for 30 days with no refills and the written script must be hand carried to the pharmacy (not called in or faxed).  This is for drugs like hydrocodone.  Schedule III drugs are not as restricted and can be called direct to the pharmacist or faxed and refills are allowed but things are obviously different in the UK. Maybe somebody with pharmacy experience could chime in here……

It is unfortunate that human abuse might cause the price of a fairly safe drug like gabapentin to increase or cause the drug to be less available for our pets. Hopefully if they schedule it here it will be a III or IV but it will still be more of a hassle to obtain.  Ironically I believe that marijuana is still a Schedule I drug making it difficult to use for research purposes although more testing is being done to determine if medical marijuana may some day help our painful pets.

Amantadine is a good alternative to gabapentin but has been pricier for the bigger dogs.

Pam

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5 April 2019 - 12:14 pm
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Thank you for taking time to explain. I’m breathing a bit easier knowing this, since we have an ongoing Gabapentin prescription for Wyatt Ray . I sure do hope that its status doesn’t change here.

It iS ironic that marijuana is a Schedule 1! There is a good article about CBD research in the vet community in the March issue of AAHA Trends, if you haven’t already seen it, check it out.

OK good to know about Amantadine, I’m going to store that in my brain for future use. 

You rock! 

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12 April 2019 - 12:32 pm
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My rehab vet just told me about this, but my understanding is that the worst it will mean in practice is that I will need to get 28 days at a time, as opposed to 90 days at present. It’s a bit of a pain, but hopefully no more than that. It won’t mean that Meg needs to see a vet more than once every three months, as she does at present. We’re actually seeing the three-legged vet for a check up/blood tests/ prescription refill in a couple of weeks, so I will update you then. We would normally be collecting a 90 day supply, we’ll see. My instinct is that given our relationship and her understanding of Meg’s needs, she will do whatever is necessary to help, if at all possible. Meg is on Metacam, Gabapentin, Amantadine and Tylenol and is doing really well on this combination.

Meg, Clare and Angel Pie xxx

Meg, Mutt, aged around 10, adopted 31/12/2009. Sudden explosive right elbow fracture 06/12 (caused by IOHC), diagnosed with End Stage Arthritis 03/15, Total Elbow Replacement 08/15, problems with healing leading to skin graft & skin flap surgery, Chronic Infection leading to implant breakdown. Became a Tripawd 9th March 2016. 
Lives with Mum, Clare, watched over by Angel Pie and Angel Billie
My life as a MEG-A-STAR 


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12 April 2019 - 2:36 pm
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Thanks for sharing Clare, I totally forgot to message you about this so I appreciate your stopping by. Yes, do let us know about your experience when discussing it with your vet, we’re anxious to hear how it goes. I hope for zero hassles!

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27 April 2019 - 4:34 am
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So, just to update you…. We saw the three-legged vet yesterday, and got 3 months supply (180 capsules) of Gabapentin, no problem. Not sure why. They didn’t say anything and neither did I, so either the news hasn’t yet made its way to rural Norfolk (in which case they’re not going to hear it from me smiley2) or, more likely,  they are doing whatever they need to do in terms of hoop jumping and not wanting to worry us about it.

I hope other UK members will have a similarly trouble-free experience.

In other news, Meg had blood tests too, and all her levels are ‘perfect’. She had a paté and chicken filled kong to celebrate.

Meg, Clare and Angel Pie xxx

Meg, Mutt, aged around 10, adopted 31/12/2009. Sudden explosive right elbow fracture 06/12 (caused by IOHC), diagnosed with End Stage Arthritis 03/15, Total Elbow Replacement 08/15, problems with healing leading to skin graft & skin flap surgery, Chronic Infection leading to implant breakdown. Became a Tripawd 9th March 2016. 
Lives with Mum, Clare, watched over by Angel Pie and Angel Billie
My life as a MEG-A-STAR 


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27 April 2019 - 10:44 am
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Ok wait … your vet has three legs? 

smiley2

bhahahaha!

Super duper news and very happy to hear Meg is healthy! I won’t say anything about the Gabapentin reclassification if you don’t. Thanks for the pupdate.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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27 April 2019 - 11:10 am
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Awesome news Clare.   Way to go Meg.  Keep being that Star you are.

xoxoxo

Michelle & Angels Sassy & Bosch

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Sassy is a proud member of the Winter Warriors. Live long, & strong Winter Warriors.
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05/04/2006 -  Bosch, Sassy's pal, earned his wings 03/29/19  fought cancer for 4 months.

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27 April 2019 - 11:55 am
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megstamum said

In other news, Meg had blood tests too, and all her levels are ‘perfect’. She had a paté and chicken filled kong to celebrate.

Meg, Clare and Angel Pie xxx

  

As it should be!  PERFECTION from Meg and Pate and Chickent to celebrate! As it should be indeed food for a Queen-😎

Happy Hannah had a glorious additional bonus time of over one yr & two months after amp for osteo! She made me laugh everyday! Joined April's Angels after send off meal of steak, ice cream, M&Ms & deer poop!

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