The FDA requests the limitation of the medications containing hydrocodone. This is an addictive painkiller that has become the most commonly prescribed medication of them all. This is an important change in policy and the drug is supposed to have the same restrictions like other addictive drugs, like morphine and oxycodone.
Why the Change?
The Drug Enforcement Administration has been asking the FDA for over a decade now to change the classification of hydrocodone so that it would have the same restrictions as other addictive drugs. Although until this point the FDA didn’t give an official press release, such a decision has been asked for my numerous health care professionals and lawmakers.
The Choice of Doctors
In many cases this drug has been prescribed by doctors especially because it is combined with other, non-addictive drugs, such as acetaminophen and aspirin. Another advantage of the drug has been the ease of access. As a result this drug has been used for treating chronic pain, including toothaches and arthritis.
In 2011 only there have been 131 million prescriptions released for hydrocodone. This means that this is the most commonly prescribed drug of them all. The same ingredient can be found in other drugs as well, such as Vicodin and other generic formulations.
We also have to add that this drug is the second most abused of all the available drugs, along with oxycodone. Both of them belong to the class of opioids which includes well-known drugs, like codeine, heroin, and methamphetamine.
According to the national statistics, the drug induced deaths among women have increased by 500%, while in case of men they have increased by 350%. This increase of deaths can be linked to the increase of the amount of prescribed medications.
If the new rules will take effect, there will be certain limitations on how many times can health care professional prescribe this drug and how many times a patient can get a refill. Another change will be that the drug won’t be allowed to be prescribed by physician assistants and nurses. All in all, in order for a patient to receive this drug, he or she will have to follow the same procedure as in case of Vicodin.
The majority of people might say that it was time for the changes to be made. However, the people who have been taking the drug will consider it more difficult to adapt.