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05/09/2018    Allen Jacobs, DPM

NJ to Monitor Gabapentin Prescriptions

I know a lot of docs who decreased scripts for
narcotics and began using gabapentin. Now this:

Dear Prescriber,

Effective May 7, 2018, the New Jersey Division of
Consumer Affairs adopted amendments to the New
Jersey Prescription Monitoring Program (NJPMP)
rules at N.J.A.C. 13:45A to require New Jersey
licensed pharmacies and registered out-of-State
pharmacies to electronically transmit information
to the Division about prescriptions dispensed for
gabapentin. The recognition of gabapentin as a
“drug of concern” stems from national
prescription and overdose data. New Jersey is
joining a growing list of states who have already
begun to monitor gabapentin use, including those
that have scheduled the medication at the state
level.

Studies have shown that gabapentin prescribing in
the United States has increased 49% over the past
five years resulting in 64 million prescription
dispensations in 2016. Additionally, the
prevalence of gabapentin abuse in the general
population is only 1.2%, but increases to a
staggering 15% - 22% amongst opioid users; likely
a direct result of the potentiating effects
caused by combination therapy. In New Jersey,
over the past two years, the presence of
gabapentin in post-mortem toxicology reports
increased by more than 1,000% overall and by more
than 3,000% in the opioid-use subgroup.

Consistent with the Director's statutory
authority, the proposed amendments require
pharmacies to transmit information to the NJPMP
about each prescription dispensed for gabapentin.
The Director believes that the monitoring of
prescriptions issued for gabapentin is warranted
in light of growing concerns about the use of
gabapentin for purposes other than those
authorized under Federal law and the potential
side effects associated with the misuse of this
medication. Prescribers are encouraged to
reference the NJPMP prior to issuing a
prescription for gabapentin in order to make the
most informed decision relating to treatment.

Sincerely,

Jeffrey D. Laszczyk, Jr, PharmD, BCACP, BCGP
NJPMP Administrator

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