From 1 April 2019, gabapentin and pregabalin have been reclassified as controlled drugs, leading to changes in how they are prescribed.
Following concerns about misuse of these drugs, on 1 April the law changed so that it is now illegal to possess gabapentin or pregabalin without a prescription and to supply or to sell them to others.
What does this mean for me?
Doctors will still be allowed to prescribe gabapentin and pregabalin, however there are a number of rules that you, your doctor and your pharmacist will need to follow from 1 April 2019.
- Doctors will only be able to provide up to 30 days’ supply of gabapentin or pregabalin on one prescription.
- You will need to request a repeat prescription each month from your GP practice.
- Your GP practice may no longer be able to send your prescription electronically to the pharmacy. This means that you or your representative will need to visit the GP practice each month to collect your prescription and take it to the pharmacy.
- If your GP practice uses the electronic prescription service for controlled drugs, your prescription will be sent to the pharmacy electronically. This system has not yet been rolled out in all GP practices so it may be useful to contact your GP practice and check whether they have this system in place.
- You, or your representative, must collect your medicine from the pharmacy within 28 days of the date on the prescription.
- You, or your representative, will need to sign and show proof of your identity when you collect your medicine from the pharmacy.
NHS England has published a patient leaflet explaining these changes.
If you’re unsure how to get your next prescription of gabapentin or pregabalin, get in touch with your GP practice.
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