Why the TGA should make it harder for people to get Xanax
The body responsible for regulating drugs in Australia, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), is poised to decide whether to restrict access to benzodiazepines, such as Xanax, Valium and Normison.
The drugs are commonly – but controversially – used to treat anxiety and insomnia. However, there is a growing body of evidence that they’re increasingly being misused.
A TGA committee meeting on Wednesday will consider rescheduling benzodiazepines to restrict their use.
More than 7.5 million benzodiazepine prescriptions were dispensed across Australia in 2010 – including more than 680,000 for alprazolam (AKA Xanax). The proposal is to move benzodiazepines from Schedule 4 to the more restrictive Schedule 8. Medicines on Schedule 8 are considered potentially addictive, and have an additional layer of monitoring and control to support quality prescribing, and reduce drug dependence and diversion.
Benzodiazepines are not first-line treatments for anxiety and there’s limited medical evidence of their efficacy beyond two to four weeks. In fact, they’re only approved and recommended for short-term use.