Posted by Steps to Recovery on February 2, 2013

Senator Schumer is urging the FDA to create new rules around medications that contain hydrocodone. Addiction to drugs that contain hydrocodone is on the rise. Because these types of pharmaceuticals are some of the most highly abused and are very addictive, there have been some suggested new regulations around the drugs.

The proposed regulations include: no prescriptions written for more than a 30 day supply, ceasing to renew prescriptions over the phone, the patient must actually be seen by a doctor, and by making it a Schedule II drug instead of Schedule III, nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants would no longer be able to prescribe the drug, making it much more difficult to get, etc. Here is more on the proposed changes.

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer is pressing the federal Food and Drug Administration to approve regulations making it harder to access painkillers that contain hydrocodone, citing a spike in prescription drug abuse cases in New York.

Specifically, Schumer is urging the FDA to reclassify hydrocodone as a Schedule II drug, as recommended last week by the Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee. Schedule II controlled substances require a practitioner-signed prescription and can’t be refilled without a new prescription, Schumer said.

Hydrocodone is among the most widely prescribed drugs in New York and the U.S., Schumer noted. In 2011, the Upstate New York Poison Control Center reported 12,800 cases of prescription drug overdose, including 193 in Steuben County, 190 in Chemung County and 21 in Schuyler County.

“Each day that passes means rising abuse, and even death, at the hands of hydrocodone-based drugs,” Schumer, D-N.Y., said. “With a key hurdle recently cleared, the FDA must tighten up control of one of the most highly prescribed – and abused – drugs on the upstate New York market.”

Schumer said that access to the drug must be preserved for patients who seek it legitimately for pain management, but he said the drug is often abused and contributed to 14,800 painkiller-overdose deaths nationwide in 2008.

“Stricter federal rules must be put in place regarding the regularity and quantity with which we prescribe these painkillers, so that our children, parents, spouses and friends don’t continue to fall prey to them each day,” Schumer said.

The FDA has previously declined to recommend the category change for hydrocodone.

Do you think more regulation around hydrocodone will decrease cases of abuse and addiction?

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