ISSN 2398-2993      

The cascade: prescribing unauthorised medicines in the UK


Vetstream Ltd

The cascade

  • The cascade is a risk-based decision tree published by the UK Government.
  • The cascade helps to guide UK veterinary surgeons to treat animals under their care when no suitable veterinary medicine is authorised for the specific condition or species that requires treatment.
  • It is important to adhere to the cascade closely, particularly when treating food producing animals. Of particular importance are Maximum Residue Limits (MRL) and withdrawal periods.
  • In addition to prescribing guidelines, the cascade advises on storing, labeling, record keeping and obtaining client consent to use medication for a purpose, or in a species for which it has not been authorised.
  • The legislation and guidance may change from time to time, so always refer back to the UK Government website for up-to-date details at

Further Reading


Refereed papers

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