Schedule 2 or 3 controlled drug prescription requirements
See MEP for full details of prescription requirements
The quantity must be in both words and figures
The form of the medicine must be provided in all instances
The strength of the preparation does not need to be included if there is only one strength available although it is good practice to include this information
"As directed" is not a valid instruction but "take one as directed" is acceptable
Prescriptions are only valid for 28 days from the prescription date, unless the prescriber has specified a start date in which case the prescription is valid for 28 days from this date (Note: Schedule 4 or 5 controlled drugs are valid for 6 months)
Temazepam was originally exempt from the additional controlled drug prescription requirements, but as of 1st June 2015 prescriptions for this drug must comply with the full requirements for schedule 2 or 3 controlled drugs
Length of controlled drug treatment
There is no legal limit on the length of treatment that may be supplied on a prescription for a controlled drug.
However, it is good practice is prescribe no longer than 30 days' supply
Prescribers may request supplies that exceed 30 days but should only do so if they are satisfied that there is a significant clinical need and no unacceptable risk to the patient
Minor errors on prescriptions - amendments that may be made by the pharmacist
Minor typographical mistakes
Minor spelling mistakes
If the quantity is missing in either words or figures the pharmacist may add the omitted quantity, but they may not add both words and figures.
When adding amendments the pharmacist should also add his/her initials to allow identification of who made the amendment. In all cases, the pharmacist must exercise due diligence and be fully convinced that the prescription is both genuine and appropriate before any amendments are made
Collection of controlled drugs
It is good practice to ask the person collecting a schedule 2 or 3 controlled drug to sign the back of the prescription. If the person collecting the medicine refuses to sign the prescription, the pharmacist may still supply the medicine.
It is a legal requirement to ascertain whether the person collecting a schedule 2 controlled drug is the patient, their representative , or a healthcare professional acting within their professional capacity. If the person collecting is the patient or the patient's representative the pharmacist should ask for proof of identity. If the person collecting is a healthcare professional acting within their professional capacity the pharmacist should obtain the name and address of the healthcare professional in addition to asking for proof of identity.
If the person collecting the medicine is known to the pharmacy team (regardless of whether they are the patient, their representative, or a healthcare professional) proof identity may not be required.
Even though it is a legal requirement to ascertain whether the person collecting the medicine is the patient, their representative, or a healthcare professional acting within their professional capacity, if proof of identification is not provided the pharmacist may still supply the medicine if happy to do so.
The controlled drug register
An entry must be made in the controlled drug register when a schedule 2 controlled drug is supplied or received.
When a schedule 2 controlled drug is received, the date of receiving, the name and address of the supplier, and the quantity supplied must be recorded
When a schedule 2 controlled drug is supplied, the date of supply, the name and address of the person receiving the drug, the detail of authority to possess (i.e. prescriber or license holder's details), and the quantity supplied
Controlled drugs in schedules 3, 4, or 5 are not recorded in the controlled drugs register
Private prescriptions for schedule 2 or 3 controlled drugs
Private prescriptions for schedule 2 or 3 controlled drugs must be written on FP10PCD
These forms are pink in colour
Private prescribers are provided with a prescriber identification number which must be included on the FP10PCD
Requisitions for schedule 2 or 3 controlled drugs
Can be computer generated or handwritten
Standardised form FP10CDF should be used
Must include the name, address, profession/occupation of the recipient, and the purpose for which the drug is being supplied (e.g. "for use in medical bag")
Must be signed by the prescriber
The supplier of the requested drug must mark on the requisition their name and address