The reclassification of Pregabalin and Gabapentin is just around the corner. Following a public consultation and advice from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, these gabapentinoids are to be reclassified following concerns over misuse.
On the 1st of April, the drugs - used to treat anxiety, nerve pain and epilepsy - will be placed in the schedule 3 category under the Misuse of Drugs Regulation 2001. As a result, GPs will not be able to prescribe either medication using batch prescribing, paper or electronic.
In preparation for this change, GP practices need to search for any patients that have either of these drugs on repeat dispensing and reauthorise the repeats as normal Repeat Masters. This will be key to ensuring that patients continue to be able to receive their medication when required.
Richard Ellis-Gibson, Head of Clinical Safety for Vision, says:
“As we prepare for the reclassification of Pregabalin and Gabapentin, it is important that every GP practice considers what impact this will have on their procedures and how they can prepare for these changes. With patient experience and safety at the forefront of what we do, we aim to make this process as seamless as possible and support our clients throughout the journey.”
Here are some other changes you should be aware of:
- Created before the March Gemscript dictionary install, prescriptions for Pregabalin or Gabapentin are not legally dispensable after 1st April 2019.
- Created after the March Gemscript dictionary install, prescriptions for Pregabalin or Gabapentin are only valid for 28 days.
- Prescriptions for Pregabalin or Gabapentin with ambiguous dosage instructions, for example 'As required', do not meet legal requirements after the 1st of April 2019.
It is important that all staff working in your practice are aware of the reclassification and understand what these changes mean for them.
Click here for a quick guide on how to search for patients using Pregabalin and Gabapentin.
Click here for details about the reclassification from NHS Digital.