Legal Status of Gabapentin

From April 2019, the government has announced that gabapentin will be reclassified as a Class C controlled drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and be placed in Schedule 3 to the Misuse of Drug Regulations 2001. This follows concerns over the drug being misused. These law changes mean that it will be illegal to possess gabapentin without a prescription and to supply or sell it to others.

What does this mean for me?

Doctors will still be allowed to prescribe gabapentin, however there are a number of rules that you, your doctor and your pharmacist will need to follow from April 2019. NHS England has published a patient leaflet to explain these changes – we also cover some of them below.

  • Doctors will only be able to provide 30 days’ supply of gabapentin 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.
  • You must collect your medicine from the pharmacy within 28 days of the date on the prescription.
  • You’ll need to sign and show proof of your identity when you collect your medicine from the pharmacy.

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