December 13, 2017

Manchin writes to federal drug officials about scheduling nerve pain drug | WV Metro News

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., sent a letter Wednesday to federal drug officials requesting the scheduling and additional mitigation efforts of a medication used to treat nerve pain.

The West Virginia Board of Pharmacy has labeled gabapentin as a “drug of concern” following an increase of overdose deaths connected to its use. The number of deaths in the state increased from 36 in 2012 to 106 in 2016.

Gabapentin is not classified by the Drug Enforcement Agency as a scheduled substance.

In the letter to Food and Drug Administration commissioner Scott Gottlieb and acting Drug Enforcement Administration administrator Robert Patterson, Manchin asked if the agencies are investigating the rise in overdose deaths and if there are considerations to reschedule the drug.

“I am urging the FDA and the DEA to consider rescheduling this drug and requiring additional risk mitigation measures including physician and patient education around the potential for abuse, addiction, and overdose deaths when this drug is prescribed and used with other dangerous medications, including opioids,” Manchin said.

The Commonwealth of Kentucky started classifying gabapentin as a schedule V controlled substance in July, recognizing it as having a low potential of abuse compared to other scheduled drugs, as well as containing limited quantities of narcotics.