Support Alert

Rescheduling of gabapentin and pregabalin to Schedule 3 Controlled Drugs from 1 April 2019

Gabapentin and pregabalin will be reclassified to Schedule 3 Controlled Drugs (CDs). The table below summarises the changes that will apply from 1 April 2019.

 

 

GABAPENTIN

PREGABALIN

CLASSIFICATION

Schedule 3 (CD No Reg POM)

Schedule 3 (CD No Reg POM)

RECORD KEEPING REQUIREMENT IN CD REGISTER

No

No

SAFE CUSTODY REQUIREMENT

No

No

PRESCRIPTION REQUIREMENTS — See MEP section 3.6.7

Yes

Yes

PRESCRIPTION VALIDITY

28 days after appropriate date

28 days after appropriate date

ADDRESS OF PRESCRIBER REQUIRED TO BE WITHIN THE UK

Yes

Yes

EEA & SWISS PRESCRIBERS CAN LEGALLY PRESCRIBE

No

No

MAXIMUM QUANTITY

Strong recommendation it shouldn’t exceed 30 days — See MEP section 3.6.7

Strong recommendation it shouldn’t exceed 30 days — See MEP section 3.6.7

PRESCRIPTION IS REPEATABLE (e.g. 'repeat x 3')

No

No

EMERGENCY SUPPLY

No

No

STANDARDISED FORM FOR PRIVATE PRESCRIPTIONS — See MEP section 3.6.7

Yes

Yes

REQUISITION NECESSARY — See MEP section 3.6.6

Yes

Yes

DENATURE BEFORE DISPOSAL — See MEP section 3.6.10

Yes

Yes

 

 

Professional guidance and frequently asked questions

What should I do if I receive a prescription for gabapentin and pregabalin written, signed and dated before 1 April 2019?

Prescriptions can continue to be dispensed if they meet the CD prescription writing requirements. Prescriptions will be valid for 28 days after the appropriate date on the prescription.

Each request should be considered on a case-by case basis and will involve considering the individual circumstances. If in doubt about whether the supply is appropriate or not consider:  

  • Using your professional judgement 
  • Taking a patient centred approach
  • What’s in the best interest of the patient
  • Where appropriate, contacting the prescriber for a replacement prescription that meets the requirements

 

What about prescriptions and owings for gabapentin and pregabalin awaiting collection from before 1 April 2019?

These prescriptions should be checked and assessed for clinical appropriateness (considering the length of time that the prescription or owing has been awaiting collection).

If necessary, the prescriber should be contacted to review the prescription and issue a replacement that meet the requirements.

 

Are prescriptions for gabapentin and pregabalin written before 1 April 2019 and presented after 1 April 2019 valid for 28 days or for 6 months?

The new legislation will apply from 1 April 2019. Prescriptions will be valid for 28 days after the appropriate date on the prescription. 

 

What is the maximum quantity that I can supply against a prescription for gabapentin and pregabalin written before 1 April 2019 and presented after 1 April 2019?

The new legislation will apply from 1 April 2019. The maximum quantity supplied should not exceed 30 days, in line with the Department of Health and Scottish Government recommendations for Schedule 2, 3 and 4 CDs. We have further advice on this in in section 3.6.7 of the MEP.

 

Can an Independent prescriber issue a prescription for pregabalin and gabapentin?

This would depend on the type of independent prescriber issuing the prescription — See MEP section 3.3.15.

 

Can a Supplementary prescriber issue a prescription for pregabalin and gabapentin?

Yes, subject to clinical competence and inclusion within the patient’s clinical management plan — See MEP section 3.3.15.

 

Further information

  • NHS England briefing note on the Rescheduling of Gabapentin and Pregabalin as Schedule 3 CDs for community pharmacies and GP Practices in England.
  • NHS England letter on the Handling of gabapentin and pregabalin as Schedule 3 Controlled Drugs in health and justice commissioned services.
  • NHS England guidance with information on changes to the law relating to the reclassification of pregabalin and gabapentin.
  • NHS England patient leaflet  provides information on changes to the law relating to the reclassification of pregabalin and gabapentin.
  • Health & Care Professionals Council (HCPC) and NHS England have issued a joint statement on the Reclassification of gabapentin and pregabalin giving details of which prescribers can issue prescriptions for controlled drugs.
  • HCPC has guidance on the Laws control the sale, supply, administration and prescribing of medicines.
  • Medicines, Ethics and Practice (MEP).
  • Professional Judgement.


Pharmacists working in hospital and primary care settings may also wish to discuss the legislation changes with their Accountable Officer to ensure that they consider any local policies or procedures that may be in place.

 

Any questions? 

Our dedicated Professional Support Service can help

0845 257 2570 / 0207 572 2737 (Monday - Friday, 9am - 5pm)

[email protected]


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