Board: Nerve drug part of overdose deaths in West Virginia

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – A West Virginia Board of Pharmacy report says a prescription drug used to treat nerve pain is contributing to a sharp increase of overdose deaths in the state.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports the number of fatal overdoses involving gabapentin in West Virginia jumped from three in 2010 to 109 in 2015. The number of 2016 deaths is still being counted.

Pharmacy board administrator Mike Goff says gabapentin is showing up in cocktails of drugs that are linked to overdose deaths.

The increase has prompted a pharmacy board committee to recommend making gabapentin a controlled substance in West Virginia, enabling the board to track prescriptions for the drug, which is sold by Pfizer under the brand name Neurontin.

The gabapentin-related overdose deaths were cited in the pharmacy board’s annual report released last week.

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