|Patients who use drugs containing hydrocodone as a pain reliever or cough suppressant are going to have to jump through more hoops to get them starting next month. |
The Drug Enforcement Administration is reclassifying so-called “hydrocodone combination products” from Schedule III to Schedule II under the Controlled Substances Act, which will more tightly restrict access. Vicodin, for example, is an HCP because it has hydrocodone and acetaminophen.
The final regulation, which takes effect Oct. 6, will mean that patients generally must present a written prescription to receive the drug, and doctors will no longer be able to call in a prescription to the pharmacy in most instances. The regulation is a response to the widespread misuse of prescription pain killers.
In an emergency, doctors will still be able to call in a prescription, according to the new rule. And although prescription refills are prohibited, a doctor can, at his discretion, issue multiple prescriptions that would provide up to a 90-day supply.
These measures don’t satisfy consumer advocates or pharmacists who are opposed to the new rule.
While acknowledging that there has been an uptick in abuse and adverse events related to opioid painkillers, one patient advocate says the new rule restricts access indiscriminately.
“We certainly want steps taken to reduce...