The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), announced on Thursday, that it wants to place stricter limits on popular hydrocodone painkillers.
The drugs that the FDA wants to place stricter limits on include those that contain an over-the-counter painkiller like aspirin and hydrocodone. This includes brand name drugs such as Vicodin or Lortab as well as generic drugs, which are used to treat pain from injures and other problems. These drugs account for about 70% of opioid prescriptions and are often abused. About 75% of deaths from drug overdose are the result of prescription drugs. The changes would reduce the amounts of refills a patient could have before having to see their doctor and would require them to bring in a prescription rather than having a doctor call it in. The change includes moving hydrocodone painkillers from a Schedule III drug to a Schedule II drug. Schedule II medications include legally-prescribed drugs with the highest chance of being abused. These new policies could start as soon as 2014, reports The New York Times.
“Today was a tremendous step forward in fighting the prescription drug abuse epidemic that has ravaged West Virginia and our country,” Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin told Fox News. “Rescheduling hydrocodone from a Schedule III to a Schedule II drug will help prevent these highly addictive drugs from getting into the wrong hands and devastating families and communities.”