New Rule for Hydrocodone

Released: 08/22/2014   By: Carl Richie, Pharmacy Manager

The U. S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has published its final rule for hydrocodone combination products, changing its drug classification from a Schedule III to a Schedule II medication, as defined in the Controlled Substances Act. Hydrocodone is an analgesic, prescribed for pain relief. This rule will place a more restrictive classification on hydrocodone products and is planned to take effect on October 6, 2014.

This means that prescriptions for hydrocodone combination products (such as Norco, Vicodin and hydrocodone/APAP generics) that were previously allowed up to five refills during a six-month period are now non-refillable. A new original written prescription must be attained for each fill. Although the Controlled Substances Act prohibits refills of prescriptions for Schedule II controlled substances, a physician may issue multiple prescriptions to a patient to cover up to a 90-day supply, in states where this is allowed, if a release date (“to be filled on or to be received by”) is written on each prescription.

Carlisle Medical will be contacting claimants and physician offices to alert them of this change over the next 30 days, as part of our pharmacy management service. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.