FDA Suggests Tightening Access To Painkillers Like Vicodin

Yesterday the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended that the rules regarding drugs with hydrocodone, which is often in painkillers like vicodin, be a lot tighter. It suggests that the drug be reclassified along the level of other opioid painkillers like oxycodone and morphine.

Right now, any prescription products that contain less than 15 milligrams of hydrocodone are classified as a Schedule III controlled substance, reports =”http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/10/25/us-fda-painkillers-idUSBRE99N1HH20131025″ target=”_blank”>Reuters.

But the FDA thinks they should be potentially Schedule II, which makes them harder to get for both people using them for legitimate pain needs and those seeking to abuse painkillers.

This would also mean patients would need to return to their doctors more often to obtain additional refills of prescriptions, which could be a hassle for those with a lot of pain.

The Drug Enforcement Administration is on board with this change, as it’s currently trying to fight an ongoing battle against prescription drug abuse. But first the Department of Health and Human Services must also approve it, along with the DEA, before the FDA’s suggestion becomes the law of the land.

Some physicians argue that restricting the meds could be really difficult on patients in pain, like the elderly, while proponents say it would be worth it to curb the rising numbers of those killed from the painkillers.

FDA recommends tightening access to hydrocodone pain-killers [Reuters]