Community pharmacy teams have been reminded by the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) that since 1 April 2019 the drugs pregabalin and gabapentin have been reclassified as Schedule 3 controlled drugs (CDs).
This means all gabapentin and pregabalin prescriptions will be subject to the prescription writing requirements for Schedule 3 CDs and it is now illegal to supply these drugs through repeat dispensing. However, pregabalin and gabapentin are included in the list of “exempted drugs” in the safe custody regulations, which means that they are not required to be kept in the CD cabinet.
Whilst Schedule 3 CDs are generally not yet prescribable via the electronic prescription service (EPS), some GP practices are piloting EPS CDs. Pharmacy teams should be aware that they may receive and dispense a mix of EPS and paper prescriptions, PSNC says.
NHS England has published a guidance document providing information on changes to the law relating to the reclassification of the drugs and a patient leaflet informing patients of the changes and how it will affect them. PSNC has also published an updated briefing on the reclassification.