Legislation has been changed to allow nurse independent prescribers to prescribe unlicensed medicines on the same basis as doctors and supplementary prescribers, an MHRA spokesman told Healthcare Republic.
Nurses can also now prescribe licensed medicines outside their licensed indications in order to meet the clinical needs of particular patients.
Details of the new rules have been set out in the Medicines (Exemptions and Miscellaneous Amendments) Order 2009.
Nurse, pharmacist and optometrist independent prescribers can also prescribe licensed medicines independently for uses outside their licensed indications (so-called off-label or off-licence prescribing).
However, clinicians must accept clinical and legal responsibility for that prescribing, and should only prescribe off-label where it is accepted clinical practice, the rules stress.