The Home Office has announced that, following a consultation, Pregabalin and gabapentin are to be reclassified as Controlled Drugs with effect from April 2019.
Pregabalin and gabapentin have been associated with medicinal misuse, illegal diversion and addiction. Both drugs have seen increased use in recent years as well as increased numbers of fatalities related to drug related poisoning.
Both drugs will be reclassified as Schedule 3 controlled drugs meaning prescribers will now need to physically sign prescriptions which will only be valid in pharmacies for 28 days. As such they will no longer be sent electronically via EPS. The drugs will also be reclassified as class C making it illegal to possess pregabalin and gabapentin without a prescription and it will be illegal to supply or sell them to others.
These changes will come into force in April 2019 to allow time for healthcare systems and providers to implement the necessary changes to prescribing systems and processes.
Action: Clinicians should be aware of this change and ensure staff who aid in preparing prescriptions are notified. Systems for processing and handling controlled drug prescriptions may need to be reviewed and updated in light of this change.