FDA warns of breathing risks with popular nerve drugs

National News

FILE – This Thursday, May 3, 2018 file photo shows bottles of gabapentin at a pharmacy in San Francisco. On Thursday, Dec. 18, 2019, U.S. health regulators are warning that popular nervous system medications known generically as gabapentin and pregabalin can cause dangerous breathing problems when combined with opioids and certain other drugs. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. health regulators are warning that popular nervous system medications can cause dangerous breathing problems when combined with opioids and certain other drugs.

The Food and Drug Administration said Thursday it would add new warnings to packaging for Neurontin, Lyrica and generic versions, which are used to treat seizures, nerve pain, restless leg syndrome and other conditions.

The new labels will warn doctors against prescribing the drugs with other medications that can slow breathing, including opioid painkillers. The breathing risks also apply to elderly patients and those with existing lung problems.

The medications, known generically as gabapentin and pregabalin, are among the most prescribed in the U.S. Both physician prescribing and misuse have increased as doctors, hospitals and other health care providers have scaled back their use of opioids amid a national epidemic.

Poison control centers have reported increased calls involving the nerve drugs, which are often abused in combination with opioids, cocaine and marijuana. Neurontin and related generics have long been considered nonaddictive and are not tracked as closely by regulators.

While the nerve drugs are not FDA-approved for conventional muscle and joint pain, doctors frequently prescribe them for those uses and others, including treatment of migraines and psychiatric conditions.

The FDA also said it will require drugmakers to conduct new studies of the abuse risks of the drugs, especially in combination with opioids.

The agency said it received nearly 50 reports of breathing problems linked to gabapentin and pregabalin between 2012 and 2017, including 12 deaths. While drugmakers are required to report problems to the FDA, it’s voluntary for doctors

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Recent Videos

Hypertension

Thumbnail for the video titled "Hypertension"

Snow Likely To Slow Down The Monday Commute For Many

Thumbnail for the video titled "Snow Likely To Slow Down The Monday Commute For Many"

NFP Program

Thumbnail for the video titled "NFP Program"

College Softball

Thumbnail for the video titled "College Softball"

College Basketball

Thumbnail for the video titled "College Basketball"

Top Plays

Thumbnail for the video titled "Top Plays"

Mandaree Sexual Abuse

Thumbnail for the video titled "Mandaree Sexual Abuse"

Klobuchar Visit

Thumbnail for the video titled "Klobuchar Visit"

Starving Rooster Closed

Thumbnail for the video titled "Starving Rooster Closed"

Robert's One Minute Forecast 2-23-20

Thumbnail for the video titled "Robert's One Minute Forecast 2-23-20"

MSU Broadcasting Dept.

Thumbnail for the video titled "MSU Broadcasting Dept."

College Softball

Thumbnail for the video titled "College Softball"

WDA Hockey

Thumbnail for the video titled "WDA Hockey"

State Wrestling

Thumbnail for the video titled "State Wrestling"

Fire Department Dinner

Thumbnail for the video titled "Fire Department Dinner"

High Cholesterol Drug

Thumbnail for the video titled "High Cholesterol Drug"

Coronavirus May Become Pandemic in the U.S.

Thumbnail for the video titled "Coronavirus May Become Pandemic in the U.S."

Klobuchar in Fargo

Thumbnail for the video titled "Klobuchar in Fargo"

Do Not Call Registry

Thumbnail for the video titled "Do Not Call Registry"

Mexican Restaurant One Year

Thumbnail for the video titled "Mexican Restaurant One Year"
More Video

KX News Trending Stories

Don't Miss

Daily Pledge

More Daily Pledge