Date: 6 October 2015
The Drugs Utilisation Sub-Committee (DUSC) of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) in its consideration of a request to de-list alprazolam from the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme has sought the advice of the RACGP.
In our response, we state that the PBS subsidised use of alprazolam for panic disorder, where other treatments have failed or are inappropriate, should remain available, but limited. We recommend it be made clearer that alprazolam only be prescribed after a clear diagnosis of panic disorder has been made and not to patients with comorbid alcohol or substance use disorders or polydrug use.
We also recommend that the PBAC consider reducing the pack size and tablet dosage available through the PBS as well as restricting the number of repeats and that the indications for alprazolam listed on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods be brought in line with the PBS listing.