From 1 February 2014 alprazolam will become a Schedule 8 (S8) medicine in all Australian States and Territories. This step has been taken due to the growing level of misuse of alprazolam and concerns for the safety and wellbeing of those who take it.
What is alprazolam?
It is used for short-term relief of anxiety or for treatment of panic disorders.
It is a prescription only medication. Common brands include:
To learn more about these medicines read the consumer medication information provided by the Therapeutics Goods Administration (external site).
Changes to alprazolam prescribing
From 1 February 2014 alprazolam will become a Schedule 8 (S8) medicine in all Australian States and Territories.
This step has been taken due to the growing level of misuse of alprazolam and concerns for the safety and wellbeing of those who take it.
What is a Schedule 8 medicine?
Schedule 8 medicines are controlled drugs that have a high risk of abuse and addiction. They have extra legal restrictions on how they are stored, prescribed and dispensed.
How will these changes affect you?
Most patients will notice little change. You will still be able to receive alprazolam for valid medical conditions. There is no change to Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) (external site) funding.
Your doctor must inform the Department of Health when prescribing alprazolam to a patient who requires a prescription for a long period. This must be done for each patient.
Only 1 doctor (or medical practice) can prescribe for a patient at any one time.
Alprazolam prescriptions may not be written on the same prescription form as other medications. If you are prescribed other medications they must be written on a separate prescription to alprazolam.
Prescription repeats must remain at the 1 pharmacy and may not be dispensed early unless instructions are provided by the prescribing doctor.
Alprazolam prescriptions are valid for 6 months. These new prescribing rules apply from 1 February 2014, regardless of when the prescription was written.
The pharmacist must confirm any handwriting on Schedule 8 prescriptions and may need to contact the doctor who prescribed the medicine.
Alprazolam must be stored in the pharmacy safe and extra records kept. Owing prescriptions for Schedule 8 medicines is not permitted.
What should you do?
Talk to your doctor to see if alprazolam is still the right treatment for you. If so, you will need to discuss how to ensure that you have continued medicine supply under the new rules.
Where to get help
- See your doctor.
- See your psychiatrist.
- Visit a GP after hours.
- Ring healthdirect Australia
- Mental Health Emergency Response Line (MHERL)