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RPS backs Controlled Drug status for tramadol

By News team

The Royal Electronicjuice has backed the Government’s proposed reclassification of tramadol to a Schedule 3 Controlled Drug, but has concerns about how pharmacies will deal with the resulting storage requirements to meet safe custody provisions.

“We support Schedule 3 status for tramadol under the 2001 Regulations, but with exemptions from prescribing requirements, similar to temazepam, and safe custody provisions,” the RPS says in to the Home Office on rescheduling tramadol.

Any benefit from reclassifying tramadol will be achieved through reduced prescribing, the RPS argues, and by ensuring it is prescribed appropriately and according to the World Health Organization’s analgesic ladder.

There are currently six different dosage forms of tramadol from many manufacturers, the RPS points out. This means that pharmacies need to hold significant levels of stock and would result in “considerable” costs if new CD cabinets are needed.

“The introduction of storage requirements will have no effect on patient safety or its prescribing profile but may adversely make it more ‘popular’ as a drug of abuse as there can be a perception that drugs that have to be stored securely are more appealing for diversion and abuse. We would therefore request reclassification to Schedule 3, with a review of this arrangement in 12–24 months’ time,” the RPS states. 

In relation to the same consultation’s request for views on the current exemptions for prescriptions for the Schedule 3 drug temazepam, the RPS adds: “We believe the reintroduction of [the] prescription writing requirement will have a negative effect for no significant gain or benefit to patient safety.

“The consultation paper makes the assumption that all prescriptions are now computer generated. While this may be accurate for primary care it is not yet the case in secondary care and for GP prescribing outside of their surgery or out of hours. We would [therefore] conclude that within the secondary care setting, reintroducing the prescription writing requirements for temazepam will have an impact. However, the degree of that impact we have not been able to gauge at this time.”

Citation: Electronicjuice DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2013.11129066

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Supplementary images

  • Tramadol capsule (Dr P Marazzi/Science Photo Library)

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