Hydrocodone is one of the most prescribed pain medications in the United States with over 135 million prescriptions every year. A new Federal law took effect on October 6, 2014 which dramatically affected how this medication would be prescribed in all 50 states.
After 10 years of debate, the Drug Enforcement Administration has reclassified hydrocodone combination products. Previously any doctor could have written a prescription for hydrocodone, but now the reclassification requires a “triplicate”. A triplicate prescription is a type prescription that goes through multiple steps for verification, including the clinic’s records, the pharmacy, and the state or federal government. Every prescription is monitored and entered into a database.
In order for doctors to prescribe hydrocodone, they will have to first register with the state and federal government, receive government approval, then purchase new triplicate prescription pads, and finally receive a tracking number for each prescription. The process will be such a hassle that many doctors will stop prescribing Hydrocodone altogether.
“The magnitude of this law was not expected to be this severe or inconvenient for patients needing hydrocodone products. Many physicians who treat injuries and back pain will now be unable to prescribe them. Those patients will need to follow up with specialists or pain management physicians if they require stronger medicine,” Medical Director Dr.Muhammad Emran said.
The purpose for this law is to minimize the abuse of prescription drugs. This will affect many patients with chronic back pain, fractures, head injuries, arthritis, car accidents, and after surgery. These patients will now be required to see a specialist such as a surgeon, psychiatrist, pain medication specialist or cancer specialist for hydrocodone. Although there are tighter restrictions on hydrocodone, doctors can still prescribe similar pain medications such as Tramadol or Codeine.
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