U.K. Implements Stricter Rules for Gabapentin, Pregabalin Prescriptions

U.K. Implements Stricter Rules for Gabapentin, Pregabalin Prescriptions

Gabapentin and pregabalin now have more restrictive rules for prescriptions in the United Kingdom.

Because of concerns regarding the medications’ misuse, both were classified as class C controlled medicines. It is now illegal to supply, sell, or possess these medicines without a prescription, according to a news release by the Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Trust U.K.

Gabapentin is sold as Neurontin (Pfizer) and other different brand names in the U.S. In the U.K. and U.S., pregabalin is sold as Lyrica (Pfizer), and in the U.K. as Alzain (Reddy’s Laboratories).

The U.K. National Health Service (NHS) implemented the new rules for gabapentin and pregabalin prescriptions April 1.

Gabapentin was first developed to combat epilepsy seizures, but it can also help MS patients control pain and spasticity. Pain management effects of gabapentin result from its chemical properties, which calm hyperactive neurons.

Pregabalin is an anti-seizure medicine that is also used in the treatment of nerve pain in MS. The therapy slows down nerve signals involved in feeling pain.

Because the pain felt by MS patients is originated by nerve damage, patients rarely get relief from over-the-counter painkillers. Medicines such as Neurontin, Alzain, and Lyrica, which act on the central nervous system, are more effective.

These medicines help control pain that arises from the nerves; however, they do not cure MS.

Reports on the medicines’ misuse are increasing. They are used as recreational drugs, frequently in combination with opioids, and are associated to a high rate of death by overdose. Although not very potent on their own, the increased recreational popularity of these therapies could be linked to their availability and lower cost.

U.K. doctors will now provide a prescription for gabapentin and pregabalin that is valid for up to 30 days, meaning that MS patients or caretakers will need to request prescriptions every month.

If the general practitioner does not use electronic submission for controlled drugs, prescriptions must be picked up in person. In some cases, the doctor will no longer be able to submit the prescription electronically. After prescription, the patient or representative must pick up the medicine within 28 days. At the pharmacy, the patient or caretaker will be asked for a signature and proof of identity.

Measures to restrict access to gabapentin and pregabalin are expected to help prevent deaths associated with their misuse in the U.K. The NHS offers a patient leaflet explaining these changes in prescription rules.


  1. Lmh says:

    I’ve been using Gabapentin for years to help dull my chronic nerve pain. Common sense should prevail. People with medical conditions line MS benefit from this drug, and the restrictions that are implemented are making it more difficult for pwMS.

  2. Ian Barrodale says:

    Misuse of cars, razors, ladders, knives, bicycles, aspirin, etc., etc., can also cause death. People who need and use Lyrica for, say, managing pain from peripheral neuropathy, should not have to visit their GP every month for a new prescription. Can GPs bill each time they write a prescription I wonder?

  3. MFH says:

    It does make it very difficult to get your medicine’s. Plus, in the U.S. if you happen to live in a different state than your doctor it happens to cause another set of problems! I’m very happy at least my Doctor can send electronically. But, the State I live in doesn’t report it’s narcotic medicine to the other state! So it has to go to the state of the Doctor and then a family member sends it to me in another state! I do go see the doctor every quarter.

  4. Debbie Mc says:

    It REALLY Angers me that the people (incl’g myself) have to suffer in pain because of a minority!!! Those of us who NEED pain medications shouldn’t have to be subjected to such BS! I say let the idiots OD & die & I’m not the only one to think this, I’m just the Only one with enough guts to say it out loud. So, that being said I’m Also SICK to death of gov’t (with NO MD, PhD etc behind their name) telling me or my Dr what is best, right & needed for me and my pain!!!!! Enough IS Enough

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This