Scheduled medicines are classified, in descending order of legislative controls, in schedules 8, 4, 3 and 2 of the Poisons Standard; some are also classified as drugs of dependence.
Note: The following lists of examples are not exhaustive and show only some brand names (in brackets). There are other Schedule 4 and Schedule 8 medicines and there may be lesser-known brand names of the listed medicines.
Definitions and examples of scheduled medicines
- Schedule 8 poisons (labelled 'Controlled Drug') are medicines with strict legislative controls, including opioid analgesics – for example, pethidine, fentanyl, morphine (MS-Contin®, Kapanol®), oxycodone (OxyContin®, Endone®), methadone (Physeptone®) and buprenorphine. Two benzodiazepines (flunitrazepam and alprazolam) are also classified as Schedule 8 poisons and ketamine is a Schedule 8 poison, which some nurse practitioners may be authorised to prescribe.
Schedule 4 poisons (labelled 'Prescription Only Medicine') include most other medicines for which prescriptions are required – for example, local anaesthetics, antibiotics, strong analgesics (such as Panadeine Forte®) – and that are not classified as Schedule 8 poisons. Whereas most benzodiazepines are Schedule 4 poisons; flunitrazepam and alprazolam are classified as Schedule 8 poisons.
Schedule 2 and 3 poisons (labelled ‘Pharmacy Medicine’ or ‘Pharmacist Only Medicine’, respectively) include some local anaesthetics and analgesics that are commonly referred to as over-the-counter medicines.
Drugs of dependence are substances, listed in Schedule 11 of the Act, known to be subject to misuse and trafficking. They include all Schedule 8 poisons, and some Schedule 2, Schedule 3 and Schedule 4 poisons known to be the subject of misuse and trafficking – for example, benzodiazepines, midazolam, Duromine® and anabolic steroids.
Note: Most regulations relate primarily to whether a drug is in Schedule 4 or Schedule 8 (rather than Schedule 11) so, to avoid confusion, it is recommended that diazepam and similar substances be referred to as Schedule 4 drugs of dependence, rather than as Schedule 11 drugs.
Reviewed 27 October 2021