DEA Reclassifies Hydrocodone Products from Schedule III to Schedule II

April 25, 2014

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has reclassified drugs that contain combinations of hydrocodone from Schedule III to Schedule II. The move is in effort to minimize the abuse of medications containing hydrocodone. The change takes effect on October 6. Pure hydrocodone is already classified as Schedule II.

By moving hydrocodone-containing medications to Schedule II, the following changes will occur:

  • Physicians may no longer delegate to physician assistants or advanced practice nurses to prescribe these drugs outside of a hospital or hospice.
  • Physicians may no longer call in prescriptions to pharmacies for these drugs.
  • Prescription refills for these medications will require a doctor-patient visit or consultation.
  • Physicians must use the official prescription pads from the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) for written prescriptions.

In addition, according to the Federal Register, after October 6, drugs such as Vicodin will only be prescribed for a 90-day period. Currently, federal rule allows patients to receive a 180-day supply of thisSchedule II drug.

This change is happening over objections by the TMA, based on the perception that this reclassification places “unnecessary requirements on physicians and additional burdens on patients. On its website, TMA has also posted a Q&A for physicians on this reclassification.

Source: Texas Medical Association

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