Gabapentin to Become a Controlled Substance in Virginia
The 2019 Virginia General Assembly recently passed a new bill that will classify gabapentin as a Schedule V substance starting July 1, 2019. Currently, gabapentin is classified as a Schedule VI drug of concern. This change in schedule will require gabapentin to be reported to the Virginia Prescription Monitoring Program as a schedule V substance. Prescriptions for gabapentin will expire after six months and may have a maximum of five refills. Virginia will join several other states that have already classified gabapentin as a controlled substance: Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Michigan. Gabapentin is currently not a controlled substance under federal law.
Gabapentin is often prescribed to treat conditions such as neuropathic pain, restless leg syndrome, and epilepsy. Gabapentin was first brought to the market as brand Neurontin in 1993 and since then has become widely used in the treatment of pain. Abuse of gabapentin has become more prevalent in recent years and has increased with the serious nature of the opioid crisis in the United States. It is most often abused by polydrug users who combine it with other substances to increase desired effects.