Hydrocodone-based pain killing drugs, including Vicodin – which are the most popular pharmaceutical drugs in the United States – are targeted for being under more stringent controls to limit abuse of the drugs. This is a change in policy by the governmental Food and Drug Administration, according to a Bloomberg report on Friday.
Some-131 million hydrocodone products were reportedly dispensed by pharmacists in 2011. This is more than twice the number of oxycodone pills dispensed. Oxycodone pills have greater restrictions.
According to Woodcock’s statement, the value of and access to the aforementioned drugs has been a consistent source of public debate. She also stated that the FDA has been challenged with determining how to balance the need to ensure continued access to those patients who rely on continuous pain relief while yet addressing the ongoing concerns about abuse and misuse of the drugs.
According to the FDA, the agency anticipates that the National Institute on Drug Abuse will agree with its recommendation, as well as the DEA.
The fear is that some patients who legitimately need the pain pills may find it increasingly difficult to get the drug they need. Some patients may end up with less potent painkillers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
Besides persons in the field calling for restrictions on the potent painkillers, lawmakers are said to want the change as well. United States Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has said that he is very pleased that the FDA will be tightening up control of the drugs while have rising abuse and even caused death. Schumer asked the FDA to tighten controls on the painkilling drugs to combat abuse last January.
The DEA asked the FDA to recommend the Schedule II reclassification to limit refills to a 90-day supply instead of the five refills within six months that are now allowed.