Pregabalin & gabapentin – prescribing by EMIS GP practices

Pregabalin & gabapentin – prescribing by EMIS GP practices

February 8, 2019

Changes to general practice clinical systems will have to be made ahead of 1st April 2019, when pregabalin and gabapentin will be classified as Schedule 3 Controlled Drugs (CDs); see below for more information on this change.

PSNC has been informed by NHS England that the EMIS general practice clinical system has started to make this change at GP practices and the software in all EMIS practices will be updated by 15th February 2019. Once the software is updated, repeat prescriptions for pregabalin and gabapentin which have previously been issued as EPS scripts, will revert to being issued via paper FP10 prescriptions.

On 12th February 2019, NHS England issued the following briefing note on Rescheduling of Gabapentin and Pregabalin as Schedule 3 Controlled Drugs.

Implications for pharmacy teams – if a local GP practice uses the EMIS clinical system, once their software has been updated, prescriptions for pregabalin and gabapentin will be issued as paper FP10s not EPS prescriptions.

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 and should advise patients that the paper script will need to be collected from the practice (or the pharmacy could offer to collect the script for the patient if you provide a prescription collection service).

EPS Controlled Drugs

NHS Digital are currently testing prescribing of Controlled Drugs via EPS and it is hoped that some GP clinical systems will be able to roll out this functionality in the near future.

Read more about the EPS Controlled Drugs pilot


From 1st 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 CDs. This follows a 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.

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, however, they will be subject to the prescription writing requirements for Schedule 3 CDs.

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