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Pregabalin and Gabapentin reclassified as Class C controlled drugs in the UK

From April 2019, the drugs Pregabalin and Gabapentin are to be reclassified as class C controlled substances in the UK. These medicines are used to treat neuropathic pain, anxiety and seizures. Due to this change in the law, pharmacies are no longer permitted to accept electronic prescriptions for Pregabalin or Gabapentin.

This means that we will be unable to prescribe either drug to our customers after 1st April 2019. Any order for Pregabalin or Gabapentin must be completed before 3pm on 29th March 2019, to allow for delivery before 1st April.

Why is this happening?

Gabapentin and Pregabalin are prescribed primarily to treat neuropathic pain. However, their use as an illicit drug by those who do not have a prescription is growing. In June 2018, it was reported that gabapentinoids (such as Pregabalin and Gabapentin) had been prescribed prior to one fifth of drug-related deaths in Scotland in 2016. This rise in illicit consumption may be because gabapentinoids can enhance the effects of opioids.

Due to this unprecedented rise in illicit consumption of gabapentinoids, and following a consultation by the UK government, Pregabalin and Gabapentin will be reclassified as class C controlled substances, meaning it will be illegal for you to possess either drug without a prescription.

How will this affect me?

Unfortunately you will no longer be able to buy Pregabalin or Gabapentin from us after 29th March. This is because prescriptions for these two medications must now be signed physically by a doctor before being accepted by a pharmacy. Pharmacists are no longer allowed to accept electronic prescriptions. Pharmacists must also dispense the drugs within 28 days of the prescription being written.

These drugs will still be available for legitimate use. However, there will now be stronger controls in place to ensure more accountability among healthcare professionals and to minimise the chances of Pregabalin and Gabapentin being misused. You will still be able to obtain either drug from a doctor or community pharmacy if you have a valid prescription.

What should I do?

Should you wish to place an order for Pregabalin or Gabapentin with us, you must do so before 3pm on 29th March 2019. You will need to provide your ID details to us before this deadline so we can process and dispatch your order promptly. If you fail to do this, we will be unable to dispense your medication and must refund you.

If you are unable to regularly visit your doctor to obtain a physical prescription, we also prescribe other medications for neuropathic pain, such as Amitriptyline and Duloxetine. You should first visit your doctor to ascertain whether these alternative medications are suitable for you. If they are, they are not affected by the change in the law and we will be able to prescribe them to you after April 2019.

Who can I contact for more information?

Should you require more information on this issue, feel free to contact us at support@instantecare.co.uk. You may also visit your doctor or contact the MHRA for more information.

Cites

"Gabapentinoids prescribed prior to a fifth of drug-related deaths in ...." 18 Jun. 2018, https://www.pharmaceutical-journal.com/news-and-analysis/news-in-brief/gabapentinoids-prescribed-prior-to-a-fifth-of-drug-related-deaths-in-scotland/20205018.article. Accessed 12 Mar. 2019.

"Gabapentinoids prescribed prior to a fifth of drug-related deaths in ...." 18 Jun. 2018, https://www.pharmaceutical-journal.com/news-and-analysis/news-in-brief/gabapentinoids-prescribed-prior-to-a-fifth-of-drug-related-deaths-in-scotland/20205018.article. Accessed 12 Mar. 2019.

"Pregabalin and gabapentin to be controlled as class C drugs - GOV.UK." 15 Oct. 2018, https://www.gov.uk/government/news/pregabalin-and-gabapentin-to-be-controlled-as-class-c-drugs. Accessed 12 Mar. 2019.

"Pregabalin and gabapentin to be controlled as class C drugs - GOV.UK." 15 Oct. 2018, https://www.gov.uk/government/news/pregabalin-and-gabapentin-to-be-controlled-as-class-c-drugs. Accessed 12 Mar. 2019.