The DEA is publishing a rule change which impacts every patient who receives hydrocodone (Vicodin, Lortab, Norco, Vicoprofen). On approximately October 6th (final date will be 45 days from the official rule publication) all hydrocodone products will be moved up from schedule 3 to schedule 2 controlled substances, on par with most other opioid medications. For patients and providers this means that you should start planning now to avoid potential disruption of therapy.

By law, schedule 2 prescriptions cannot have refills and must be written as a new prescription each time the patient requires a supply of medication. Schedule 2 prescriptions also are not able to be phoned or faxed to the pharmacy. For many patients this will mean more trips to their healthcare provider’s office. And for many offices an increased burden on support staff to manage the additional prescription writing volume. The change also impacts pharmacies as the record keeping requirements are much more stringent for schedule 2 medications.

It is also important to note that our Polyclinic location does not mail schedule 2 medications.

If you are a patient who regularly uses a hydrocodone based product to manage your pain, we suggest you contact your healthcare provider’s office and pharmacy soon in order to understand their controlled substance prescription policies and how you might be impacted by this change.