Dr. Steve Grinstead, an internationally recognized experts on addiction, pain management, and prescription drug addiction announced today that Hydrocodone will be reclassified by the FDA as a Schedule II Drug.
According to Dr. Grinstead , The Food and Drug Administration announced on August 22, 2014 that medications containing hydrocodone with Tylenol now must follow stricter prescribing guidelines. He explains the implications on a video blog.
For the past decade there has been a national debate about rescheduling hydrocodone – it’s been over 15 years since the idea was first proposed. Now it’s finally happening, hydrocodone combination products are being reclassified from the more-permissive Schedule III to the more-restrictive Schedule II category. It’s not immediate but should be official by early October this year.
Many people ask me; what is Schedule II? Well it’s the most restrictive of the medically-legitimate drugs. What the restrictions do is limit the amount available in the drug distribution system to prevent its misuse, or diversion, without unduly compromising patients getting the drug who really need it medically.
This change is really needed as it can be one step to minimize the misuse of the drugs for recreational purposes while still ensuring that patients with severe pain still have reasonable access to the amount of drug needed to control their pain and suffering.
How big is this problem? Well since 2007, more U.S. prescriptions were written for hydrocodone + acetaminophen than any other drug. In 2012, that was over 135 million prescriptions. According to the Center for Disease Control in 2011, drug overdose was the number one cause of injury death in the U.S., killing more people between ages 25 and 64 than in motor vehicle accidents. Of a total 41,340 drug overdose deaths, 22,810 (55%) were due to pharmaceuticals (i.e., not illegal drugs). Of those 22,810 deaths where pharmaceuticals were implicated, 16,917 were due to opioid narcotics. When it was due to other pharmaceuticals being the primary cause, this research shows opioids were present well of half the time.
To learn about managing chronic pain with coexisting disorders including addiction, please check out Dr. Grinstead’s book Managing Pain and Coexisting Disorders: Using the Addiction-Free Pain Management® System. . Other Grinstead publications can be found at www,relapse.org including his book on You will also see some of his other publication pain management including his book Freedom From Suffering.