Pregabalin and Gabapentin to be Controlled as Class C Drugs

The UK home office last week issued a statement that prescription drugs pregabalin and gabapentin are to be reclassified as class C controlled substances as of next April.

These changes will mean it is illegal to possess these drugs without a prescription, the supply and sale of these drugs to others will also be illegal. This change has been enforced by the government following the rising number of deaths related to the use of these drugs.

Pregabalin and Gabapentin are commonly used to treat nerve pain, epilepsy and anxiety. The drugs create an elevated mood but with the potential for serious side effects.

The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (AMCD) in 2016 raised concerns regarding the medicinal use of these drugs and the illegal diversion of the drugs leading to addiction. This advice has been accepted by the government and following a public consultation, the reclassification has taken place.

The Minister for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability Victoria Atkins said of the situation:

“Any death related to the misuse of drugs is a tragedy. We accepted expert advice and will now change the law to help prevent misuse of pregabalin and gabapentin and addiction to them.”

These changes mean these drugs will still be available for legitimate use, but doctors will be required to sign physical prescriptions along with further tighter controls and accountability.

These new measures will come into effect in April 2019.

Randox Toxicology offers a specific ELISA test for the detection of Pregabalin (Crossreacts with Gabapentin metabolites) with a sensitive limit of detection of 0.159 µg/mL. This test is validated for whole blood, postmortem blood and urine sample types.

For more information visit or email