Changes to the prescribing restrictions for riluzole

Closed 9 Aug 2019

Opened 11 Jul 2019

Results expected 30 Aug 2019

Feedback expected 30 Aug 2019


Riluzole is a glutamate agonist used in the management of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Riluzole is a prescription medicine approved under section 23 of the Medicines Act 1981. The following condition regarding prescriber access to this medicine applies.

Why your views matter

Medsafe received feedback from specialist clinicians commenting that the current prescribing restrictions do not allow general practitioners to prescribe riluzole to patients on discharge from specialist services, and that this should be permitted. Medsafe understands this proposal will support the transition between hospital and primary care, and would be in line with international practices. Pharmac also currently funds riluzole when prescribed by any relevant practitioner on renewal of a special authority (note: the initial special authority request must be by a neurologist or respiratory specialist). A change in prescribing restrictions would align these two activities. Specialists have indicated that they consider GPs are well placed to provide a shared care process and their systems support any monitoring required.

Current prescribing restrictions

Rilutek can only be prescribed by specialist physicians who care for patients with Motor Neurone Disease, neurologists and palliative care physicians.

Proposed change to prescribing restrictions

Medsafe proposes that the restrictions be amended to allow relevant prescribers to prescribe riluzole, where the prescribing decision is taken in collaboration with, or following consultation with, physicians who care for patients with Motor Neurone Disease, neurologists and palliative care physicians.



What happens next

The target implementation date for the changes described above is 1 October 2019.

Comment on the feedback received and any resulting adjustments to the new requirements will be provided through the Medsafe website (


  • Members of the public
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