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Fundam Clin Pharmacol. 2018 Oct;32(5):571-577. doi: 10.1111/fcp.12368. Epub 2018 May 3.

Tamper-resistant prescription forms for narcotics in France: Should we generalize them?

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Centre d'Addictovigilance, Service de Pharmacologie Médicale, CHU de Bordeaux, F-33000, Bordeaux, France.
Inserm U1219, Bordeaux Population Health, Equipe Pharmacoépidémiologie, F-33000, Bordeaux, France.
Service de Pharmacologie Médicale et Clinique, CIC Inserm 1436, CHU de Toulouse, 37 Allées Jules Guesde, F-31000, Toulouse, France.
Agence Nationale de Sécurité du Médicament et des produits de santé, F-93285, Saint-Denis, France.


In France, prescription of narcotics must be written on a tamper-resistant prescription form with specific technical particularities. Dosage and daily dose of medicines shall be written out entirely in letters. These prescription forms are also mandatory for buprenorphine, clorazepate, clonazepam, tianeptine, buccal midazolam and zolpidem owing to traffic, abuse or diversion. In 2012, to assess the use of standard and tamper-resistant prescription forms and the acceptability of the generalization of the latter to all medicines, a national opinion survey was performed, with a postal questionnaire, within three randomized samples of 1500 prescribers (physicians, dentists and midwives). Of the 403 participating prescribers (participation rate of 26.8%), 373 were physicians, 14 dentists and 16 midwives. Tamper-resistant prescription forms were used by 76.2% of prescribers, but only by 5.1% in a computerized version, whereas for standard prescription forms, 61% used computer assisted prescription software. The main reason was the inability of the prescription software to print these forms or to respect the mandatory prescription rules for narcotics. Theft and falsification of prescriptions had ever occurred (working life). Most prescribers (62.5%) were against the generalization of tamper-resistant prescription forms. Those in favour were for a generalization to all medicines (65%) and not only to psychotropic agents. Generalization of tamper-resistant prescription forms is not a consensual solution to prevent medicines' diversion. Some prescribers alluded to the possibility of dematerialization and electronic transmission of prescription forms, which could avoid theft, forgery or falsification.


addictovigilance; controlled substances; drug prescriptions; electronic prescribing

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