Restricting access to the sedative drug alprazolam (Xanax) reduced its overall use in Australia and resulted in fewer adverse events, Australian researchers report.
Writing in JAMA Internal Medicine the researchers said the rescheduling of the benzodiazipine from Schedule 4 (Prescription Only Medicine) in 2014 to Schedule 8 (Controlled Drug) caused a drop in prescriptions for the drug of 14.9/100 000 population per month (95% CI, 5.2-24.5; P = .004), an approximate 22% reduction.
The number of alprazolam related calls to the Poisons Information Centre were also cut by 50 per cent in the first 12 months following rescheduling.
The authors from the University of New South Wales observed no significant change in poisonings associated with other benzodiazepines.
“Our findings suggest that when one medicine within a class is more toxic and/or more commonly abused, selective rescheduling should be considered to address its misuse,” they concluded.