Medicines submitted to narcotics regulations in France, 1992-2007

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The objective was to study the current narcotics regulations which are the most restrictive regarding prescription and dispensation practice in France, and their evolution over the period 1992-2007. This is an example of regulation in a European member state regarding medicines with a risk of abuse or dependence. Narcotics regulations were studied in the French public health code. Status and indications of medicines concerned were found on the French medicine agency website, and the retrospective part of the study was conducted using the French public statute law website. Seventeen medicines were found. Three were psychotropics and fourteen narcotics. The prescription rules could be different for a given substance according to the route of administration or indication. In 2007, half of the narcotic opioids could be prescribed for 28 days, whereas in 1992, most of them could be prescribed for only 7 days. These results show the adaptation of French narcotics regulations, with the development of medicines indicated in acute or chronic pain treatment or opioid maintenance treatment.

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