Written by: Brent Ursel PA-C
Hydrocodone (Vicodin or Norco) is a popular, widely prescribed pain medication. In 2012, 135 million prescriptions were written for this medication across the united states. The next most prescribed medications are Synthyroid (a thyroid medication) followed by Lisinopril (for blood pressure), Simvastatin (for cholesterol) and metoprolol (for heart/blood pressure).
The Drug Enforcement Agency(DEA) currently lists all controlled substances in a category (Class) 1-4. Class 1 drugs are those with no medical indications-such a PCP, Meth, Angel Dust, Cocaine, ETC.
Class 2 drugs are those with a higher risk of addiction or death. Such drugs include morphine, MS Contin, Oxycodone, Oxycodone, Fentenyl, ETC. Class 2 medications have to be written, have an original signature of the prescriber, and be hand carried to the pharmacy. They can NOT be phoned in or faxed in, and no refills may be given.
Vicodin is currently a Class 3 medication, meaning that it can be called into the pharmacy and up to 6 refills can be given. Effective October 6th, 2014, the DEA will be moving ALL products containing hydrocodone (Norco, Vicodin) to a Class 2 designation.
This means that EVERYONE who currently has refills remaining on their Vicodin pain medication will find that all of the refills will be cancelled effective October 6th. Patient’s will need to schedule an appointment with their medical provider to obtain a new script-potentially EVERY MONTH for those who take it for chronic conditions.
The DEA is doing this in an effort to cut down on abuse and diversion of this medication.
Please do not complain to your medical provider or pharmacist about the rule change. We have no say in the matter. We have to follow the law.
Please do not wait until October 6th to make an appointment with your medical provider to discuss your medication needs.