How does this affect you? Maybe it doesn’t. But, if you’ve received a prescription for medication like Vicodin, Norco, or Lortab (as 131,000,000 prescriptions were written in 2011) this will affect you.
The FDA’s decision to increase the restrictiveness of these prescriptions comes out of years of controversy over epidemic-scale abuse and misuse of prescription pain medicines. It is speculated that if hydrocodone medications were placed on the market today that they would firmly be within the Schedule II classification and that the change is justifiable and expected.
There is a need to balance safety with continued access to these drugs.
What is the prescribing difference between schedule III and schedule II? Schedule II drugs require handwritten prescriptions. No refills are allowed.
What is coming down the pike? The FDA plans to submit formal recommendations by early December 2013 to the US Department of Health and Human Services to reclassify hydrocodone combinations into Schedule II. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has the final decision. The decision is complex and far-reaching both for patients and physicians.