DEA reschedules Hydrocodone Combination Products (HCP) to a Class II Controlled Substance

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has issued a final rule rescheduling hydrocodone combination products (HCPs) from schedule III to the more-restrictive schedule II of the Controlled Substances Act. HCPs are drugs that contain both hydrocodone, and specified amounts of other substances, such as acetaminophen or aspirin.

The new rules mean that medications such as Vicodin, Norco, Lortab and other generic versions will be subject to the same prescribing rules as painkillers like codeine and oxycodone. Patients will be limited to one prescription (no more than a 90-day supply of medication) and will have to see a health care professional to get a refill. In many states, prescribing authority will be limited to physicians, not nurses or physician assistants. Additionally, the provider will no longer be able to phone the prescription into a pharmacy.

This new rule is effective October 6, 2014. If you have further questions on how this rule will affect you, please contact your healthcare professional. More information on this final rule...