Community pharmacy teams are reminded that from 1st April 2019 Pregabalin and Gabapentin have been reclassified as Schedule 3 Controlled Drugs (CDs). PSNC has developed a briefing to explain what this means for the dispensing of prescriptions.
You can download the PSNC Briefing HERE.
From 1st April 2019, all Gabapentin and Pregabalin prescriptions are subject to the following prescription writing requirements for Schedule 3 CDs and it will be illegal to supply these drugs through repeat dispensing. However, Pregabalin and Gabapentin will be included in the list of “exempted drugs” in the safe custody regulations which means that they will not be 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 and so pharmacy teams should be aware that they may receive and dispense a mix of EPS/paper prescriptions for Gabapentin and Pregabalin. https://psnc.org.uk/our-news/emis-to-join-national-roll-out-of-eps-cds/
A few points to note:
- System 1 previously did not treat Pregabalin and Gabapentin as Controlled drugs, therefore any previous scripts that are not compliant with CD regulations (without dose, words figures etc) will not be valid from 1st April 2019, despite being correct at the time of being written.
- Community pharmacists that have any Pregabalin or Gabapentin as Repeat dispensing will have to make patients aware that future RD scripts will not be valid – we are not sure if GP systems will stop issuing automatically.
- Community Pharmacies will be unable to make emergency supplies of these items if a patient has run out
- Some scripts for Pregabalin are for 56 days and the current good practice guidance advocates 28 days – this is more prevalent in surgeries that adopt 56 day prescribing.
- Scripts awaiting collection at the pharmacy that were dispensed and but not yet collected prior to 1st April 2019 will no longer be valid.
If you have any questions regarding the reclassification of these drugs, please contact the LPC for advice.