Lucy Pallot, 25, from Bairnsdale Victoria claims she had never experienced the lows of depression and anxiety until she started taking pregabalin. Sold under the brand name Lyrica, pregabalin is the most commonly prescribed subscription medication in Australia with more than 4.1 million subsidised scripts written nationwide last financial year.
Ms. Pallot, along with an increasing number of health professionals, is now questioning whether pregabalin is being incorrectly prescribed in regional parts of Australia to compensate for inadequate specialist health care. In 2017, Ms. Pallot was working in a beauty salon in Melbourne when she went to a doctor complaining of restless legs.
“The doctor who prescribed it to me didn’t do any tests,” Ms. Pallot told ABC. “She just said ‘Take this, it will help you sleep.’ [It was as if the doctor said] medicate yourself, and if it gets worse, have more.”
Over a period of time, Ms. Pallot increased her daily dose from 25 milligrams to 250, and within eight months she was addicted and critically ill. She suffered blurred vision, had the heart rate of an 80-year-old and weighed only 49 kilograms.
“I ended up losing about 35 kilograms in three months and I was put in hospital for about four to five weeks in ICU in Melbourne because I had anorexia,” Ms. Pallot said. “I thought it was safe.They didn’t tell me what was in it,” she added.
The indication for pregabalin is neuropathic pain or fibromyalgia, but the head of neurology at St Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne, Professor Mark Cook, said it was being incorrectly prescribed to treat different types of pain suffered by people living in regional areas.
The federal government calculated more than 4.1 million subsidised scripts for pregabalin were written in Australia last financial year costing taxpayers $113 million.
Medical negligence occurs when healthcare professionals fail in their duty of care to their patients and treatment falls below acceptable standards. If you feel you have been a victim of medical negligence you should consult a specialist lawyer right away. The experienced team at Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers can help. Contact us for a free consultation today.