Opioid Prescription Drug Laws:
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration ("DEA") issued regulations covering the prescribing of hydrocodone combination products during October, 2014. These drugs, which include Norco, Vicodin, and Lorcet, among others, have been "upscheduled" to Schedule II from Schedule III.
What does this mean?
- A hand written original prescription on a DEA approved form is now required for a pharmacy to dispense these drugs. Prescriptions for these drugs can no longer be "called in" or "faxed" to a pharmacy. These drugs are also excluded from the e-prescribing system.
- The maximum quantity of these combination drugs that can be prescribed is a thirty (30) day supply. "Refills" are no longer permitted on these prescriptions.
- Each time a prescription is written for any of these drugs, the physician must examine the patient and evaluate whether initial or continued use of the medication is appropriate. If you are prescribed any of these drugs, be sure to schedule a follow-up appointment between 28 and 30 days later so that, if appropriate, a new prescription can be written before your supply runs out.
Other Schedule II drugs to which these rules apply include Ativan, Clonazepam, Valium, Xanax, etc.
The DEA web site provides additional details about Scheduled drugs and prescribing rules and regulations.