Photo: Close up of man holding pills and water

Change to the law: gabapentin and pregabalin

Last year, the government announced a change in the law to reclassify gabapentin and pregabalin as Class C controlled drugs. The law change comes into force from 1 April this year.

The law change means that it will be illegal to possess Gabapentin and pregabalin without a prescription and to supply or sell it to others.

What are gabapentin and pregabalin?

Gabapentin and pregabalin are drugs used to treat pain. They come in multiple forms including tablet, oral solution and capsules.

Find out more about managing pain in MS

Why have they introduced this change?

This change follows concerns over the drugs being misused and patients experiencing serious side effects, particularly when taken with other drugs.

People with MS who have prescriptions should continue to be able to access these drugs.

You can find out more about the change on the gov.uk website.

What does this mean for me?

You shouldn't experience any problems accessing either gabapentin or pregabalin if you're currently prescribed them.

However, getting access to your regular prescription may not be as easy as before the change in the law.
Download NHS England's patient leaflet which explains these changes

What exactly has changed?

There are now more restrictions placed on how doctors can prescribe the drugs:
  • Doctors will now need to physically sign prescriptions, rather than electronic copies being accepted by pharmacist
  • Doctors will only be able to provide 30 days’ supply of gabapentin on one prescription
  • You'll need to request a repeat prescription each month from your GP practice, and will not be able to request a prescription electronically through ‘batch’ dispensing
  • Your GP practice may no longer be able to send your prescription electronically to the pharmacy

Not sure if this affects you?

We recommend speaking to your GP practice if you’re unsure about how to get your next prescription. If you're unsure how to set up a representative to collect monthly, contact your GP practice.

Will this cost more?

We've heard from some patients that moving to monthly prescriptions may result in those who don't receive free NHS prescriptions paying more.

If you think you'll be affected financially by the changes please contact our MS Helpline.