Pregabalin and gabapentin to become Controlled Drugs from April 2019
Pregabalin and gabapentin are used to treat epilepsy, anxiety and nerve pain and are currently licensed as prescription-only medicines. However, they have been used illicitly because they can produce an elevated mood. They can be addictive and may cause potentially serious side effects, particularly if used with other drugs such as opioids or alcohol, and there has been an increased number of fatalities due to this combination. The Home Office has therefore decided to re-classify pregabalin and gabapentin as Schedule 3 CDs as this will provide increased controls to minimise their diversion and misuse. They will become Class C controlled drugs which means that it will be illegal for people to possess them without a prescription or supply them to others.
From April, this will mean that:
- Prescribers will be required to sign for all orders of pregabalin and gabapentin, and stocks will no longer be available via the Ashtons Online Ordering System
- The original paper prescription or stock order (using an official requisition form) must be sent to Ashtons in order for the supply to be made
- Prescriptions must include the dose, strength, form and quantity in WORDS and FIGURES
- Pharmacies must dispense the drugs within 28 days of the prescription being written
- Private prescriptions will need to be written on the FP10PCD or equivalent statutory form in order for community pharmacies to dispense pregabalin or gabapentin
- The quantities ordered and supplied should not exceed 30 days
- Unwanted pregabalin or gabapentin will need to be denatured prior to disposal
- They will NOT be required to be stored in a controlled drug cupboard.