You may not take the popular pain medicine hydrocodone (also known as Vicodin, Lortab, and Norco). But, if you do… refills are going to be more difficult starting today. The Drug Enforcement Administration is changing hydrocodone to a stricter drug class.
Why? The DEA cites 7 million Americans who abuse prescription drugs and 100,000 deaths from overdoses in the past 10 years.
What are the changes? Hydrocodone pain medicine will only be given by pharmacies in 30-day supplies. No refills will be allowed on a prescription. Each prescription must be handwritten by a doctor (no faxing or phoning in a prescription). Only physicians can write for hydrocodone (no midlevel providers like physician assistants or nurse practitioners).
The intent of this new rule is for the physician to make a conscious review of the case monthly and consider if this medication should be refilled. I think this is a good rule. Let’s see how it plays out…