Medicine updates – January 2019

Medicine updates – January 2019

January 15, 2019

Guidance on pregabalin and gabapentin becoming CDs published
Community pharmacy teams are reminded that from 1 April 2019 pregabalin and gabapentin will be reclassified as Schedule 3 Controlled Drugs (CDs), and PSNC has developed a briefing to explain what the amendments to the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 and the Safe Custody Regulations 1973 mean for the dispensing of prescriptions.

Once this change has come into force, all gabapentin and pregabalin prescriptions will be 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.

NHS England has informed PSNC that EMIS updates to reclassify gabapentin and pregabalin will be in place by 15th February, meaning paper prescriptions will replace those previously sent by EPS. If a patient’s other prescription items are issued via EPS, there is a risk that the paper script for pregabalin or gabapentin may not be collected from the GP practice; pharmacy teams should be alert to this risk. Full details available here.

 

Pregabalin and gabapentin to be controlled drugs
From 1 April 2019, amendments to the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 and the Safe Custody Regulations 1973 come into force which mean that pregabalin and gabapentin will be classified as Schedule 3 Controlled Drugs (CDs).

This follows Government consultation and recommendations from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs for additional safeguards to be put in place because of concerns around the misuse of these drugs.

Community pharmacy teams should note that 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 keep these drugs in the CDs cabinet. This follows representations from PSNC and others that the usual storage arrangements for Schedule 3 CDs would not be practical for pharmacies to comply with considering the significant number of prescriptions for these drugs (see PSNC’s response to the Home Office consultation on proposals to classify pregabalin and gabapentin as CDs for full details). However, pregabalin and gabapentin will be subject to the prescription writing requirements for Schedule 3 CDs. For more information, please visit the government’s website and the UK legislation website.

 

 




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