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Medicines regulation

Parliament approves changes to regulations governing controlled drugs

The UK Parliament has approved a raft of amendments to the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 that will come into force over the next few months.

Among the changes are additional controls on temazepam prescribing, the upgrading of ketamine to a Schedule 2 controlled drug and the extension of prescribing authority for physiotherapists, chiropodists and podiatrists.

The Misuse of Drugs Regulations set out the legal status of substances classified under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. Drugs are placed in one of five schedules based on an assessment of their medicinal or therapeutic usefulness and the need for legitimate access.

The latest amendments to the Regulations were approved by Parliament on 26 March 2015 and will be rolled out between June and November 2015.

From 1 June 2015, prescriptions for temazepam will need to meet all requirements for Schedule 2 and 3 controlled drugs; electronic prescribing of drugs in these schedules will be permitted. And midwife supply orders for controlled drugs will need to include the name of the intended recipient.

Also from June 2015, physiotherapists will be allowed to prescribe some controlled drugs for treatment of organic disease or injury, including diazepam, dihydrocodeine, fentanyl, lorazepam, morphine, oxycodone and temazepam; chiropodists/podiatrists will be allowed to prescribe diazepam, dihydrocodeine, lorazepam and temazepam.

From 30 November 2015, tighter restrictions will be applied to ketamine, which is being upgraded from a Schedule 4 to a Schedule 2 substance. There will be exceptions to allow for the continued use of ketamine by healthcare professionals. 

  • This article was updated on 29 April 2015 to correct the spelling of temazepam

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2015.20068329

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