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Four medicines set to become controlled drugs

Legislation has been approved by Parliament that will make tramadol a schedule 3 medicine

Zopiclone and zaleplon will become controlled drugs (CDs) from next month, in addition to tramadol and lisdexamphetamine. Parliament approved the changes to the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 earlier this week, and they will come into force on 10 June 2014.

Zopiclone and zaleplon, which were previously unscheduled, will become schedule 4, part 1, CDs. This is because of their similarity to benzodiazepines and zolpidem.

Tramadol will become a schedule 3 CD. However, because it is so frequently prescribed, it will be exempt from the usual safe-custody requirements, which would have meant pharmacists had to keep it in a locked cupboard.

Lisdexamphetamine, which is metabolised to the CD dexamphetamine, has been treated as a schedule 2 medicine since shortly after its introduction to the UK market in 2013. Changes to the regulations will now make this official. A Home Office spokesperson says this measure has been taken partly because pharmacists highlighted the medicine’s similarity to dexamphetamine.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2014.11138647

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