Rules for Vicodin pain medication changing October 6th, 2014

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.



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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.

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3 Comments

  1. There is a grandfather clause. If anyone gets a new prescription before October 6 with refills. The refills will be honored until they run out.

  2. U say ‘grandfather clause’ but it is posted

    “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.”

    This is going to be a financial hardship for me. Not sure what I am going to do :(

  3. Yes Wal-Mart ,Rite Aid & others pooled together to STOP the “Grandfather clause”…yes SCREW the people that ACTUALLY rely on these medications for TRUE chronic conditions. I had to go pick up another written script…my doctor’s office was completely sympathetic to my disbelief and situation. This SHOULD NOT mean that you need to see your doctor EVERY month…They SHOULD write you 2 refill scripts for each remaining month(usually they are written for 3 months) to be picked up every 30 days.IF your doctor tries to make you see him/them every 30 days..COMPLAIN or look elsewhere for a better facility. YES AS USUAL WE…with chronic conditions…are the ones who suffer for what the DEA cannot control.SHAME on you DEA.

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