Picture of Hydrocodone pills

The doctors at Greco Medical Group have worked diligently for many years to improve what they consider the best option when it comes to chronic pain. That option is natural, regenerative medicine.

The other most common options – surgery and drugs – sometimes cause more problems than they cure, and the drug option can be particularly harmful when addictive pharmaceuticals are prescribed.

RhuematologyNews.com has reported some important information regarding the classification of one particularly powerful and potentially dangerous drug: Hydrocodone.

By Alicia Ault – Physicians should ready themselves now for the new set of rules expected when hydrocodone-containing products become subject to tighter regulation on Oct. 6, according to various physician groups.

After a years-long process, the Drug Enforcement Administration announced in late August that it would be moving hydrocodone-containing products from Schedule III to Schedule II.

That rule takes effect on Oct. 6.

After that date, physicians who want to prescribe HCPs will have to use tamper-proof prescription forms or e-prescribing programs. They can call in a 72-hour supply but must follow that up by mailing the prescription to the pharmacy. Refills by fax or phone are otherwise prohibited.

Patients who are on long-term HCP therapy can get up to a 90-day supply through three separate, no-refill prescriptions.

The American Medical Association, which campaigned against the rescheduling of HCPs, is now urging its members to be prepared for the changes in prescribing and workflow that will come with the new landscape.

In a fact sheet, the AMA says that physicians should try to refill prescriptions before Oct. 6, noting that these prescriptions will essentially be grandfathered in under the old rules until Apr. 2015.

In early September, the American Society of Clinical Oncology also notified its members of the coming changes and said that it had opposed rescheduling of HCPs.

Many physician groups have said that moving HCPs to schedule II will not stop abuse or diversion and may hurt patients who have a legitimate need. Dr. Reid Blackwelder, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, said that “it’s hard to say” whether up-scheduling will make a dent in inappropriate or unnecessary prescribing.

He said in an interview that his practice already requires patients on long-term opioid therapy to come in at least every 3 months for refills and an evaluation. Although physicians may have to change their practice schedules to accommodate refill visits, those visits are good opportunities for education and follow-up, said Dr. Blackwelder. 

And a story related by BusinessInsider.com tells a sad story of a man who had it all and lost it all after developing a severe ($10,000 per week) addiction to painkillers: https://www.businessinsider.com/kenny-lissak-vocativ-interview-2014-9

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