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DEA to reclassify meds containing hydrocode

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Specializes in Geriatrics, Home Health. Has 10 years experience.

The DEA voted last week to reclassify Vicodin, Norco, and other drugs containing hydrocodone, due to high rates of addiction and overdose. Once the rule takes effect, they will be Schedule II narcotics, like oxycodone and fentanyl.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is putting tighter controls on the nation's most widely prescribed narcotic painkiller in a move to stem an epidemic of addiction, overdose and death.

The agency said it would publish a rule Friday to place hydrocodone combination products, such as Vicodin and Norco, in the same category as other frequently abused medications, including OxyContin and fentanyl.

Once the rule takes effect in 45 days, all hydrocodone products will be considered Schedule II drugs-pharmaceuticals with accepted medical uses but also the highest potential for harm and abuse. Patients will see new restrictions on prescriptions and refills, and pharmacies will have to follow stricter procedures for handling and storage of the drugs.

Hydrocodone products are among the most commonly prescribed drugs in the U.S. Americans consume 99% of the hydrocodone produced worldwide, according to the International Narcotics Control Board.

But these drugs and other narcotic painkillers cause or contribute to more than 16,000 deaths annually, a death toll greater than for heroin and cocaine combined. As a result of a surge in prescription overdoses, drug fatalities have surpassed deaths from motor vehicle crashes, long the leading cause of accidental death in this country, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

RNIBCLC

Specializes in Maternity.

I guess this will cut down on abuse if these medications can not be called in any more. I just wonder how patients with a legitimate need for these medications will be affected. I guess we will find out.

applewhitern, BSN, RN

Specializes in ICU. Has 30 years experience.

It is really sad for people who cannot take NSAIDS. There isn't much else for them to take. I wish they would do something about alcohol and cigarettes instead of pain meds.

tyvin, BSN, RN

Specializes in Hospice / Psych / RNAC.

It will take effect April 8, 2015...

tyvin, BSN, RN

Specializes in Hospice / Psych / RNAC.

I told my doc about it today...I don't think she believes me :coffee:

Esme12, ASN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma. Has 41 years experience.

I guess this will cut down on abuse if these medications can not be called in any more. I just wonder how patients with a legitimate need for these medications will be affected. I guess we will find out.
It will be very difficult and expensive for these patients. You will now be charged an office visit to get the script. Some MD's done even want to be involved.

It is going to cause a real hardship on the patients who really need the medication.

sallyrnrrt, ADN, RN

Specializes in critical care, ER,ICU, CVSURG, CCU.

i understood October 6th, 2014 in Texas

tyvin, BSN, RN

Specializes in Hospice / Psych / RNAC.

i understood October 6th, 2014 in Texas

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CCAQFjAA&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ascp.com%2Farticles%2Fproposal-reschedule-hydrocodone-combination-products&ei=7_UMVNqaKNLioAS63oKYDA&usg=AFQjCNEXLZbc-NDvNjVxbxBAphfRPufktQ&sig2=IxxPE-1umaf44q8Zmk9wLg&bvm=bv.74649129,d.cGU

WOW! You are right; I don't know what I was reading but it was a discussion about how long it would take to change the codes etc and it said that date was when it would happen (my bad for not checking)... I predict mass confusion.

Pain patients are stigmatized enough. The drug seekers are going to get the stuff somehow, somewhere and I think it's stinks that the legitimate people must suffer. The DEA needs to get it's stuff together. If they would legalize medical weed we really wouldn't have such a problem IMO :yes:

Now with things like hydrocodone going schedule II, what's the chance of weed getting off the schedule I rating? Was it planned, could they be that smart/dumb?

If the DEA is serious about dealing with dangerous drugs I say they need to get alcohol off the streets...talk about destruction. :blackeye:

The fact that so many nurses on this post agreed that it's a good thing to keep hydrocodone away from the addicts is disturbing. It's actually the mind set. Right away it's "yea, keep the drugs away from people, make it as hard as possible," etc... We're suppose to be thinking about the pain patients that need our help; compassion, empathy, not how to keep drugs away from seekers.:bookworm:

Let the seekers seek, that's what they do; with as little disruption to our jobs as possible. They will be their own undoing. Let us help our people that really need to get the best care as fairly as possible without feeling stigmatized for it.

I do care about seekers and will help anyone who is ready to be helped, but until that time that they're ready, you all know the score.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it :)

LadyFree28, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pediatrics, Rehab, Trauma. Has 10 years experience.

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CCAQFjAA&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ascp.com%2Farticles%2Fproposal-reschedule-hydrocodone-combination-products&ei=7_UMVNqaKNLioAS63oKYDA&usg=AFQjCNEXLZbc-NDvNjVxbxBAphfRPufktQ&sig2=IxxPE-1umaf44q8Zmk9wLg&bvm=bv.74649129,d.cGU

WOW! You are right; I don't know what I was reading but it was a discussion about how long it would take to change the codes etc and it said that date was when it would happen (my bad for not checking)... I predict mass confusion.

Pain patients are stigmatized enough. The drug seekers are going to get the stuff somehow, somewhere and I think it's stinks that the legitimate people must suffer. The DEA needs to get it's stuff together. If they would legalize medical weed we really wouldn't have such a problem IMO :yes:

Now with things like hydrocodone going schedule II, what's the chance of weed getting off the schedule I rating? Was it planned, could they be that smart/dumb?

If the DEA is serious about dealing with dangerous drugs I say they need to get alcohol off the streets...talk about destruction. :blackeye:

The fact that so many nurses on this post agreed that it's a good thing to keep hydrocodone away from the addicts is disturbing. It's actually the mind set. Right away it's "yea, keep the drugs away from people, make it as hard as possible," etc... We're suppose to be thinking about the pain patients that need our help; compassion, empathy, not how to keep drugs away from seekers.:bookworm:

Let the seekers seek, that's what they do; with as little disruption to our jobs as possible. They will be their own undoing. Let us help our people that really need to get the best care as fairly as possible without feeling stigmatized for it.

I do care about seekers and will help anyone who is ready to be helped, but until that time that they're ready, you all know the score.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it :)

The thing is, the seekers are going to seek and find something else, what are we going to do then, classify household cleaning products??? No, we are not.

Granted, as some in who has a pain disorder, there are non-narcotic medications and therapies out there, but then again, access and cost will most certainly be an issue.

I'm on the fence about MJ, especially because of some of the nervous system side effects that can occur and have witnessed from someone who has smoked it and had underlying psych issues; it's "wonder drug" does have it's "side effects".

My take is is for pain management to have a multidisciplinary approach should take place, unfortunately, I think what this reclassifying is an attempt to prevent doctors from writing a script and ushering a patient out without fully assessing and coming up with an effective plan to address the chronic pain and putting interventions in place; I wonder where the chips are going to fall...

MunoRN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care. Has 10 years experience.

I've actually always been surprised that hydrocodone is scheduled differently than oxycodone. In a mg to mg comparison, oxycodone does have a stronger effect, but for dose equivalent comparisons they would seem to be very similar drugs. Keep in mind oxycodone is metabolized into morphine which is where much of it's effect comes from. Hydrocodone is metabolized into hydromorphone (dilaudid), which is where much of it's effect comes from. I don't get the impression that drug seekers view dilaudid as being less desirable than morphine, so it doesn't make much sense to schedule the drugs that produce each of them any differently.

suanna

Specializes in Post Anesthesia. Has 30 years experience.

When it comes to drugs I guess I'm anarchist. Your body- your drugs- if you want to but them together until your heart stops, what business is it of mine. I use narcotic analgesics for pain on a fairly regular basis. I don't use them at work, but I cannot take NSAIDS, and I've gotten no benefit from the membrane stabilizers or the new biologics (T blockers). The effort to regulate people out of addictive behavior does nothing but make it impossible for people not abusing the drugs to be treated fairly. Now everyone that has a Rx for an Oxy is going to be treated as a junkie, and docs won't write for appropriate pain medications for fear of being investigated by Big Brother. I'm a democrat in most things, but when it comes to the government trying to regulate us into a utopic society- the best cure for people who choose self destructive behaviors is let them self destruct. Offering help is great; Providing social services is fine; but regulating the rest of us out of being able to obtain effective medical management isn't worth the very unlikely gain in stopping people who like to poke needles into thie own arms with drugs they bought behind Walmart.

NurseGirl525, ASN, RN

Specializes in ICU.

It's crazy really. The people that want to regulate this have never been in chronic, horrible pain. If they had, this wouldn't be an issue. The people that abuse these meds generally buy them on the black market. This isn't going to stop that. Being in pain now days has just as much stigma as someone with a mental illness. There should be no stigma on that either.

Someone in my nursing class who is a CNA sat there and talked about fibro being psychogenic pain. I honestly thought I was going to come out of my seat. This is the mentality that we have. Pain is pretty much in your mind and how dare you ask for pain medications you are nothing but a junkie. But at least I kept my cool in class but that girl got a real quick schooling in what exactly fibro is.

I hope and pray for the day when we don't judge people because of medical illnesses and that people can be come educated on the matter. But I don't forsee it since people have been educated for years on the effects of second hand smoke I still end up breathing it in all the time. I am all for people choosing what to put in their body, but if I choose not to, then I shouldn't have to put it in there because you do. And my pain meds that I put in my body, don't affect 1 other person in this world except me.

brandy1017, ASN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care.

There is a heroin epidemic now because of people who couldn't get or afford narcotics so switched to heroin which is much cheaper but more dangerous!

MoshRN

Specializes in OB, Postpartum, Nursery. Has 2 years experience.

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CCAQFjAA&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ascp.com%2Farticles%2Fproposal-reschedule-hydrocodone-combination-products&ei=7_UMVNqaKNLioAS63oKYDA&usg=AFQjCNEXLZbc-NDvNjVxbxBAphfRPufktQ&sig2=IxxPE-1umaf44q8Zmk9wLg&bvm=bv.74649129,d.cGU

WOW! You are right; I don't know what I was reading but it was a discussion about how long it would take to change the codes etc and it said that date was when it would happen (my bad for not checking)... I predict mass confusion.

Pain patients are stigmatized enough. The drug seekers are going to get the stuff somehow, somewhere and I think it's stinks that the legitimate people must suffer. The DEA needs to get it's stuff together. If they would legalize medical weed we really wouldn't have such a problem IMO :yes:

Now with things like hydrocodone going schedule II, what's the chance of weed getting off the schedule I rating? Was it planned, could they be that smart/dumb?

If the DEA is serious about dealing with dangerous drugs I say they need to get alcohol off the streets...talk about destruction. :blackeye:

The fact that so many nurses on this post agreed that it's a good thing to keep hydrocodone away from the addicts is disturbing. It's actually the mind set. Right away it's "yea, keep the drugs away from people, make it as hard as possible," etc... We're suppose to be thinking about the pain patients that need our help; compassion, empathy, not how to keep drugs away from seekers.:bookworm:

Let the seekers seek, that's what they do; with as little disruption to our jobs as possible. They will be their own undoing. Let us help our people that really need to get the best care as fairly as possible without feeling stigmatized for it.

I do care about seekers and will help anyone who is ready to be helped, but until that time that they're ready, you all know the score.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it :)

I agree

suanna

Specializes in Post Anesthesia. Has 30 years experience.

There is a heroin epidemic now because of people who couldn't get or afford narcotics so switched to heroin which is much cheaper but more dangerous!

Any idea where it is going on sale, and if I need a note from my doctor?

Unfortunately for the vast majority of us chronic pain patients, we are law abiding, upstanding citizens of the community, who happen to have a medical condition that our regulators have chosen to stigmatize rather that deal with a small minority that use a narcotic for a purpose other than that for which it was prescribed. As to the heroin epidemic, in my area, heroin has gotten scarce or expensive so we are seeing a rash of fentanyl ODs as it is being sold as heroin- it's cheaper and more available. I've got very little pity for the junkie that ODs using God knows what to get high.

FLAlleycat

Specializes in L&D, Women's Health. Has 30 years experience.

Oh, yeah . . . rescheduling hydrocodone is definitely going to keep it away from addicts! Just like schedule 1 heroin has been kept off the street. I use hydrocodone and have for years. I cannot take NSAIDS due to kidney problems. Oh, well . . . maybe FL will give me cannabis if the government is taking away my hydrocodone. I'm glad my doctor of 15 years knows me well.

hope3456, ASN, RN

Specializes in LTC, Psych, M/S.

Ok so now that hydrocodone is schedule II only licensed nurses can administer it - or so was my understanding. I work in a state group home for DD population and we have medication aides. Administration is allowing the "med aide supervisors" to administer it. I really hope we aren't breaking the law. I have an email out to the SBON but haven't heard back yet.

Anyone know?

sallyrnrrt, ADN, RN

Specializes in critical care, ER,ICU, CVSURG, CCU.

in texas LTC! OUR MEDICATION AIDES MAY ADMINISTER, with lis. nurse approval etc.