Pregabalin and Gabapentin to be reclassified as Controlled Drugs

Do you take Pregabalin or Gabapentin? New legislation means that as of April 2019, these will become Controlled Drugs. Find out what this means for your prescription.


What’s happening on April 1st?

Back in the Autumn, the Government announced that Pregabalin and Gabapentin were to become Class C Controlled Drugs. This is set to go ahead on April 1st, although some GP surgeries have already started treating them as controlled. This means that if you take these medications, you may experience some changes to the ordering system, for the moment. Pretty soon, your surgery will be able to send all of your items electronically. Don’t worry, we’ve broken it down for you.

What are Controlled Drugs?

The Misuse of Drugs Legislation Act keeps a tight rein on certain prescription medications. This helps to ensure they are used properly and do not cause harm. ‘Controlled Drug’ refers to a restricted prescription item. When a drug is classed as ‘controlled’, pharmacies, doctors and patients must treat it in a certain way. There are currently restrictions around ordering, sending and prescribing these drugs.

Controlled Drugs and Electronic Prescribing

The Electronic Prescription Service (EPS) lets your GP send your prescription to your pharmacy electronically, a little bit like an email. This is a great alternative to paper scripts, which you have to ferry back and fore to the surgery and pharmacy.

Doctors and dentists can prescribe all controlled drugs, like they would any other medication. Previously, Controlled Drugs were paper-only. This has now changed. On February 28th 2019, NHS England announced that GP surgeries could start sending most Controlled Drugs to pharmacies electronically. So, there’s no need to collect or post a paper prescription for your Controlled Drugs.

If you take Pregabalin and Gabapentin and you’re concerned that you’ll have to use paper scripts, don’t worry, these will be available via EPS.

PillTime patients: here’s the important bit

Some surgeries have already started sending controlled drugs electronically. Double check if your surgery has implemented this yet. If it has, you don’t need to do anything. Your surgery will send your Controlled Drugs to us electronically. This should include your Pregabalin and Gabapentin. If they are still integrating the electronic system, you may need to post these items in the meantime. NHS England estimates that all surgeries will implement this in the coming weeks.

The benefits of sending Controlled Drugs electronically:


  • If you have Controlled Drugs, now you can order everything in the same way. There’s no need to post a paper script, so that’s less hassle for you.
  • More people can benefit from efficient ordering and sending of prescriptions.
  • Electronic prescriptions help reduce the administrative burden on GP surgeries.
  • There’s no need to worry about misplaced scripts. Electronic prescribing is much safer and more efficient.
  • Pharmacists can see all your prescribed items at once. This can help them make clinical decisions about dosage instructions.

Where to go for more information:

NHS Digital


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