Hydrocodone painkillers face increased federal restriction

Following a spike in hydrocodone painkillers addiction, the federal government is restricting access to the opiate.

Hydrocodone painkillers face increased federal restriction
Hydrocodone painkillers face increased federal restriction

HealthDay News -- A surge in addictions to painkillers with hydrocodone has spurred the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to move ahead with new controls on the substance.

"Almost seven million Americans abuse controlled-substance prescription medications, including opioid painkillers, resulting in more deaths from prescription drug overdoses than auto accidents," DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart said Thursday in a news release.

The new restrictions would cover prescription narcotic drugs such as Vicodin, Lortab, and their generic equivalents, putting them in the same regulatory class as painkillers such as Oxycontin, Percocet, and codeine. Patients will now only have access to a three-month supply of the drug and will have to see a doctor to get any refills.

The new rules, posted online by the DEA, come more than 18 months after an FDA advisory panel met to discuss the fate of painkillers containing hydrocodone.

"[This] action recognizes that these products are some of the most addictive and potentially dangerous prescription medications available,” wrote the agency.

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