New restrictions on hydrocodone combination painkillers, including Vicodin will take effect in mid-October. The federal government has elevated the opioid drug to Schedule II under the Controlled Substances Act.

The notice, to be published today in the Federal Register, announces that the change will take effect in 45 days.

Hydrocodone, by itself, has been listed in Schedule II along with oxycodone since 1971, when the Controlled Substances Act took effect. The new rule adds drugs that contain both hydrocodone and other substances such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

The new rules will reduce how many pills a doctor can prescribe for them at one time. Doctors, who under Schedule III could prescribe a six-month supply as a 30-day prescription with up to five refills, will now be limited to a three-month supply under Schedule II.   8/21/14


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