FDA cracks down on prescription pain relievers
Very soon it could be more difficult to get prescriptions for drugs containing hydrocodone in combination with other pain relievers.
After more than two days of intense testimony, an FDA panel voted 17 to 10 in favor of reclassifying hydrocodone-containing drugs like Vicodin from Schedule III to Schedule II under the Substance Control Act. What this essentially means is that hydrocodone would be considered to have a greater potential for abuse.
Those who voted in favor emphasized the drug’s potential for addiction and abuse while those against warned it would cause millions of legitimate pain patients to suffer—making it much more difficult for them to get the medication they need.
A string of very high-profile deaths over the past few years has shed light on the growing abuse of prescription drugs. Experts say death rates from hydrocodone-combination-drug overdoses, in particular, have tripled over the last two decades. This vote, no doubt, sends a very strong message to doctors and the public about the potential deadly results of mixing hydrocodone in combination with other medications.
Critics say the vote will only lead to more prescribing of other drugs, which may may lead to greater abuse and actually fuel, rather than reduce, an epidemic in progress. Supporters of the vote stressed the continued importance of monitoring drug use across state lines. The vote will go a long way to help prevent prescription drug abuse in adults, adolescents and young adults now and in the future.
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