DEA reclassifies Hydrocodone products from C-III to C-II


Hydrocodone products are currently classified as C-III. Common products that contain hydrocodone are Norco, Vicodin, and Lortab. These products are commonly used to treat moderate to severe pain. You’ll often receive a prescription for these products if you’ve been to the ER and suffered an accident that requires it, the dentist when you’ve had your wisdom tooth pulled, or a variety of other moderate to severe pain ailments. They will be reclassified into C-II which places in the same drug class as Percocet, Oxycodone, and amphetamine products.

Hydrocodone is a culprit of illicit drug abuse. It’s continued widespread use of it has prompted action by the FDA over a year ago. Now the DEA and other healthcare regulators are falling in line. For more info on what transpired and the rulings, please check out the links below. The reclassification will take effect October 6, 2014.

How will this affect the patient?

The reclassification to C-II will restrict access to hydrocodone products to patients. It will theoretically limit or at least slow down illicit drug use of hydrocodone products. Hydrocodone products will now be placed in the same categories as Oxycontin, Percocet, and amphetamine products which are considered to have high abuse potential. Patients will now have to acquire a prescription every time they need a fill on their Vicodins, Norcos, or Lortabs. They will have to be written on a special security prescription form. Pharmacies will no longer be able to call for verbal refills or receive fax prescriptions for these products (excluding emergency fills). Also all current refills, will be voided by October 6, 2014. Hydrocodone products will not be allowed to have refills.

Healthcare professionals will be held to a higher accountability to these products. Pharmacies will most likely call doctors for verification for the majority of these prescriptions. If they cannot get a documented verification from the doctor’s office, the ER, or the dentist, we will most likely not fill it until we do. In turn, patients that reasonably require medication will have to suffer in pain until the proper procedures are carried out in the pharmacy. The case being is that the DEA holds us accountable to scrutinizing the authenticity of this classification a lot more.

Sadly, only a minority of hydrocodone users are illicit drug abusers while the majority of patients reasonably need this form of pain management. This will effect those who need this moderate to severe pain management and their access to it. Since no healthcare professional, from doctors, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and pharmacists want to lose their license to an illicit drug user.

As your local pharmacy, we would like to express regret for our patients that require this pain management and the inconvenience this will cause you in the future. We hope you understand, and work with us in smoothing out this process.


Modern Drug