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Doctors 'Not Taking Hydrocodone Seriously'

By January 29, 2013

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The sheer number of prescriptions that are written for pain pills that contain hydrocodone and other ingredients is an indication that many doctors are not taking the risks of these addictive medications serious, according to a top official with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Therefore, the agency is proposing tighter controls on prescriptions of those drugs.

Combination drugs, those that contain hydrocodone and other ingredients, are currently subject to fewer regulations than pure hydrocodone.

"This drug has got a hold of this society and it's killing us," said Joseph Rannazzisi, deputy assistant administrator in the DEA's Office of Diversion Control. "There's so many prescriptions out there and I'll tell you why. The medical community, in my humble opinion, is not taking this drug seriously."

Increased Restrictions Proposed

An advisory committee of the Food and Drug Administration held a hearing last week to consider the DEA proposal to increase restrictions on combination drugs, such as vicodin. The panel voted to recommend tighter restrictions on the drugs to the FDA board.

The FDA meeting was prompted by the runaway prescription drug abuse epidemic in the United States, documented by the skyrocketing number of hydrocodone-related visits to the emergency room each year since 2000.

Drugs that combine hydrocodone and other less powerful painkillers, such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen, are currently listed as Schedule III drugs, unlike pure hydrocodone, which is Schedule II.

Proposals to Limit Combination Drugs

The DEA proposal for these combination drugs include:

  • Moving combination drugs to Schedule II.
  • Limiting restrictions to 90 days maximum.
  • Allowing doctors only to prescribe the drugs.
Currently, doctors, physician assistants and nurse practitioners can prescribe drugs like vicodin to patients with refills up to six months.

Also at the FDA meeting, Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing asked that the agency recommend that physicians write prescriptions only for severe pain, and at much lower doses.

News Sources:

Bloomberg: Pain Pill Abuse Helped by Doctor Inattention, DEA Says
Painkiller Paradox: Feds Struggle To Control Drugs That Help And Harm

Related Information:

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February 1, 2013 at 11:13 pm
(1) Judy grey says:

my best friends drinking is so out of control that recently had to just let the friendship go. She is impossible to get through to and is blind to reality. She tried to blame me when I confronted her about her some very serious issues. She wouldnt stop blabbing, was totally smashed and tried to convince me she is right about everything. She pisses herself, stinks of cheap wine,or rotten beer,has a filthy house, and the toilet in her house is disgustingly unusable for a normal non drunk person.im her only friend, but im so so sick of her always being smashed. Im 59, and she got drunk at the first get together I had in my new house with my entire family. I was humiliated! i feel like im trapped and cant get away when im with her.she is goofy at 45 and no change in sight.ive outgrown the silly antics and embarrassment. One time she peed her pants while sitting on a blanket, then I sat on the blanket not knowing what she did until i saw her walking naked from the bathrom to her room. I almost puked!! My stomach turns over when I think of the stuff she does.

February 4, 2013 at 8:04 am
(2) Barbara Mazer says:

You might get help for yourself at Alanon meetings. You are describing a person who is dying of addiction. She will not get better without professional help and support. Have an intervention and pray for her.Shame and embarrassment are not going to help or effect her at this point in her progression. Also, she must be hospitalized for detox or she runs the risk of seizing.

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