FDA Wants Tougher Rules for Painkillers Like Vicodin
It recommends tighter restrictions for painkillers with hydrocodone
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Oct 24, 2013 5:46 PM CDT
Hydrocodone pills might be harder to come by soon.   (AP Photo/Toby Talbot)

(Newser) – It will likely be tougher for people to get their hands on Vicodin and similar painkillers next year. The FDA today recommended tougher restrictions for drugs made with hydrocodone, reports Reuters. Assuming the guidelines are approved by the department of Health and Human Services, patients would get fewer refills, and doctors no longer would be able to phone in prescriptions to a pharmacy. Instead, patients would need to present a written prescription.

The New York Times calls the move a "major policy shift" because it would put the narcotic painkillers in the same class as more powerful ones such as OxyContin, which has oxycodone as its main ingredient. The DEA has long pushed for the move, citing growing abuse of the hydrocodone drugs, but groups including the American Medical Association have been leery of making it harder for patients in need to get relief.

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Showing 3 of 36 comments
Richard Smith
Oct 27, 2013 8:11 AM CDT
I was taking hydrocodone for severe arthritic pain, but I was getting too much of the acetaminophen they put in it, so my doctor switched me to oxycodone, which does not have the acetaminophen. I take only as much as I need to relieve the pain, which is often less than the maximum prescribed. I had a lot of trouble getting the oxycodone due to the red tape to keep it out of the hands of the abusers, and had to go to two different pharmacies to finally get the prescription filled. And now they are going to make it even harder to get? Just shows how the government agencies do not give a tinker's dam about legitimate patients and only care about their war on drug USERS and putting more of them in for-profit prisons. This is really getting to be one shithole of a country to live in.
Jean56
Oct 25, 2013 5:54 PM CDT
I also have my share of serious pain as a result of two accidents, two back surgeries- one of which was a cervical fusion, which has left me disabled at 56! I take several pain meds, but I would rather have a better quality of life and shorter life span, then live in severe pain--I have no help and no money to pay for help to assist with my daily living needs -- I respect the need to insure that these drugs have tight controls, but when you have a documented, serious issue, and are on ssa disability, it makes no sense to put the physicians in the spotlight especially if they are in the pain management or pain rehab field! It's my choice, it's my body, not a strangers as to what meds I do and don't take and I make the decision knowing that it may shorten my life span. But I would rather not live to 80, with severe Alzheimer's in a nursing home with no quality of life, like my mom right now -- what is the point??? Having had the misfortune of losing my job, at the height of my career, due to a bad outcome to my cervical fusion surgery, has left me in pain, on a fixed, limited income with no medical insurance! My medical costs exceed $600/month! The FDA people obviously do not know what it is like to live in severe pain and disability -- with all the technology in place today, the FDA and DEA needs to tap in to technology to resolve the control of the illegal sale of narcotics, rather than resorting to making scapegoats out of legitimate patients and physicians!
Ultraworld
Oct 25, 2013 2:26 PM CDT
I have to take medications for a severe arthritic condition. The FDA puts so much pressure on Dr's that they are afraid to prescribe it. If they do, you have to submit the script a few days ahead of time so the pharmacy can fill out a ton of paper work. If these drugs are on the street in huge numbers, it's not patients supplying it.