The RCVS has issued advice for vets following the reclassification of ketamine and tramadol.

Ketamine has also been reclassified as a Class B controlled drug. It remains under Schedule 4 of the 2001 regulations, meaning that the legal requirements for supply, storage and record keeping should remain the same. The RCVS therefore continues to advise that practice premises should:

  • Record the use of ketamine in an informal register
  • Store ketamine in a controlled drugs cabinet
  • Destroy ketamine in the presence of an authorised witness

Regulatory changes mean that tramadol is now classified as a controlled drug, and has been added to Schedule 3 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulation 2001. This change was made effective by the Home Office as of June 10, 2014. Practitioners should be aware that as a Schedule 3 controlled drug, tramadol is now subject to special requirements when writing prescriptions:

  • Prescriptions for Schedule 3 controlled drugs are only valid for 28 days and are non-repeatable
  • It is an offence to supply a Schedule 3 controlled drug against a fax or email prescription; the original prescription must be obtained before the medicine is dispensed
  • If supplying a Schedule 3 controlled drug against another veterinary surgeon’s prescription, checks need to be made to ensure that the prescription has come from a UK address and that the signature is genuine
  • The date on which the drug was supplied must be marked on the prescription and the prescription retained on the practice premises for at least five years

The RCVS also advises that despite being exempt from Safe Custody Regulations, all Schedule 3 controlled drugs should be locked away.

For further information about the specific requirements for controlled drugs, see the Veterinary Medicines Directorate’s Guidance Note No 20 - Controlled Drugs