Controlled Drugs Rules for Prescriptions

The Department of health has decided to make some changes to the controlled drugs legislation as it currently stands. The proposed changes are outlined below. It is not yet brought into law yet but these are the proposed changes as outlined by the PSI. Naturally a lot of pharmacists would find these new requirements challenging as many prescribers struggle with the current requirements in it’s current format.


Changes for Schedule 2 and 3 Controlled Drugs


The name and address of the patient no longer has to be handwritten by the prescriber, however a number of additional elements are required on the prescription in order to aid identification and ensure clarity:



  • the first name of the prescriber (not required to be handwritten).
  • the prescriber’s registration number (not required to be handwritten).
  • the name of the controlled drug (required to be handwritten). This can be either the brand name or the generic name of the drug.


It should be noted that this in  addition to the current rules that apply for CD2 and CD3 medicines.


Changes for Schedule 4 Part 1 Controlled Drugs


The benzodiazepines previously found in schedule 4 (CD4s) of these Regulations are now found in a new schedule 4 part 1 of the new 2017 Regulations.


The “z-drugs” zopiclone , zolpidem , zaleplon are now subject to control under the Misuse of Drugs Act and will also be listed in schedule 4 part 1.


One of the most significant effects of the new Regulations, in relation to benzodiazepines and z-drugs, is that the restrictions in place on the possession of controlled drugs will now apply to these medicines. A form of controlled drug prescription will also now be required for these medicines.


The specific criteria to be included on a prescription for schedule 2 and 3 controlled drugs will now also apply to drugs in schedule 4 part 1, however (similar to prescriptions for methadone) these will not have to be handwritten. The details required are:


  • the name (including first name) and registration number of the prescriber.
  • the name of the drug.
  • dose.
  • pharmaceutical form.
  • strength (where appropriate).
  • the total quantity written in both words and figures.


Prescriptions for drugs in schedule 4 part 1 will not have to be dispensed within 14 days of the date they are issued on the prescription and may be repeated.


Pharmacists will be required to keep a copy of all prescriptions for drugs in part 1 of schedule 4 for two years after the date of supply and mark prescriptions accordingly. Pharmacists are also required to keep a copy of this record of dispensing made on the prescription.

You can Download a template for free which you can send to your local GPs and Prescribers to increase the awareness of the change


Template of how to write a Controlled drug prescription in Ireland

DOWNLOAD HERE CD2 and CD3 Template


Controlled Drug in Ireland Template Rules

Download CD4- Part 1 Template