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Tramadol added to list of controlled drugs

24 June 2014

We are advising veterinary practice premises and practitioners that tramadol has now become a controlled drug and has been added to Schedule 3 of the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001.

The change to the regulations was made by the Home Office and was effective as of 10 June 2014.

As a Schedule 3 controlled drug tramadol is now subject to special requirements when writing prescriptions. 

Practitioners should also note that:

  • 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.

Although tramadol is exempt from Safe Custody Regulations we advise that all Schedule 3 controlled drugs are locked away.

Furthermore, the Home Office has also reclassified ketamine as a Class B controlled drug.

However, it remains under Schedule 4 (Part 1) of the 2001 Regulations meaning that the legal requirements for supply, storage and record keeping remain the same.

We therefore continue 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.

Further details about the specific requirements for controlled drugs can be found in the Veterinary Medicines Directorate’s Guidance Note No 20 – Controlled Drugs.

Practice premises can also contact our Professional Conduct Department for further guidance on 020 7202 0789 or

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