Editor's note

Prescriptions for the epilepsy drug pregabalin have increased dramatically in recent years, as more doctors use it “off-label” to treat chronic and persistent pain. Recreational use is also growing, with users taking higher doses or combining it with other drugs to compound the sedative or euphoric effects. A study published today in the Medical Journal of Australia shows ambulance call-outs for pregabalin have increased ten-fold over the past five years. As researchers Shalini Arunogiri and her colleagues write, pregabalin is a high-risk medication and doctors need to carefully asses the risks and benefits, especially for patients who also take opioids and benzodiazepines.

And on Saturday, voters in Victoria returned Daniel Andrews’s Labor party to government in a landslide. Paul Strangio reflects on the result and argues that the Liberal Party, at both state and federal levels, has now fallen seriously out of step with what voters want.

Fron Jackson-Webb

Deputy Editor/Senior Health + Medicine Editor

Top story

At higher-than-prescribed doses, pregabalin causes sedation and euphoria. Bruno van der Kraan

Ambulance call-outs for pregabalin have spiked – here’s why

Shalini Arunogiri, Monash University; Dan Lubman, Monash University; Rose Crossin, Monash University

Ambulance call-outs associated with the misuse of pregabalin (Lyrica) have increased tenfold in Victoria since 2012, mirroring an increase in prescription rates.

A jubilant Daniel Andrews celebrates a resounding win in the Victorian election. AAP/Daniel Pockett

Victorian Labor’s thumping win reveals how out of step with voters Liberals have become

Paul Strangio, Monash University

Daniel Andrews' resounding win has probably secured his party another two terms- and it will send chills down the spines of Liberals in Canberra.

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