Tag Archives: Norco

DEA clamps down on hydrocodone

HydrocodoneHydrocodone, the nation’s most widely prescribed painkiller, will now be in the same category as other frequently abused medications such as OxyContin and fentanyl. The agency said Friday it had published a rule to reschedule hydrocodone combination products — which include Vicodin and Norco — from Schedule III to the more restrictive Schedule II of the Controlled Substances Act.

Americans consume 99% of the hydrocodone produced worldwide; because of the perception that such products are less risky than other narcotic painkillers, they are widely prescribed by general practitioners and dentists, according to this article.

Combination hydrocodone products are currently classified as Schedule III drugs, meaning that prescriptions can be written with five refills and pharmacies are not required to lock them in a safe.

Since 2007, more U.S. prescriptions were written for the combination of hydrocodone and acetaminophen than any other drug. In 2012, that was over 135 million prescriptions, or one prescription for every 2.3 men, women, and children in the U.S. that year, according to this article.

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FDA OKs controversial form of Vicodin

pills and pill bottlesThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Zogenix Inc.’s Zohydro painkiller, a new version of pure, extended-release hydrocodone that is said to be 10 times more powerful than Vicodin. The move comes amid criticism from those who say the FDA should not be approving any additional opioids given the current prescription drug addiction epidemic. An advisory panel last year voted against approving Zohydro, citing concerns about the danger of addiction posed by the opioid drug class.

Unlike other hydrocodone-containing drugs like Vicodin, Lortab and Norco, Zohydro is not buffered with acetaminophen or some other over-the-counter medication. The drug also lacks an abuse-deterrent feature such as the ones used in new formulations of drugs like OxyContin.

Hydrocodone is currently the second most-abused medicine in the U.S. behind oxycodone.

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In Calif., rise in young painkiller abusers leads to more heroin overdoses

Today, Oxy Watchdog founder Erin Marie Daly has a report produced with the California Report, a project of the Center for Investigative Reporting, on the rising prescription drug epidemic in California. While few hard statistics are available on the number of people moving from prescription drugs to cheaper heroin in the state, interviews with drug treatment experts and public health officials suggest a marked increase in heroin use that is accompanying the steady and dramatic rise in prescription opioid abuse among young people, the article says.

The report includes two radio stories produced with KQED, San Francisco Bay Area’s National Public Radio station, as well as an audio slideshow.

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Lawyer David Michael Cantor on prescription drug addiction

In this guest post, Arizona lawyer David Michael Cantor weighs in on prescription drug addiction in his state and throughout the nation.

All over the country, prescription drug abuse is running rampant. Whether the drug of choice is OxyContin, Vicodin, Percocet, or any other painkiller or prescription medication, the fact is that people are abusing these drugs at an alarming rate. In a recent survey, over 7 million Americans reported using prescription drugs for non-medical purposes in the past 30 days. In 2006 and 2007, the Department of Health in Arizona reported a 41% increase in drug-related deaths among children and teenagers. The problem is becoming an epidemic and with more and more baby boomers getting older and having health issues, there are more pills available.

Prescription pain medication is one of the most widely abused drugs throughout the nation and in Arizona. In 2008, 10.5% of high school seniors in Arizona admitted to using a prescription pain reliever in the last 30 days. According to the DEA, 56% of teens believe prescription drugs are easier to get than illicit drugs such as cocaine and marijuana. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the most commonly abused prescription drugs are OxyContin, Codeine, Percodan, Percocet, and Vicodin.

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Battle brews over hydrocodone rescheduling amendment

A controversial amendment to the Food and Drug Administration Safety Innovation Act that would change the classification of common, hydrocodone-containing pain relief products from Schedule III to the more-restrictive Schedule II has pharmacy interest groups up in arms, but proponents say it would help address the epidemic of opioid addiction and overdose deaths.

Combination hydrocodone products such as Vicodin and Norco are currently classified as Schedule III drugs, meaning that prescriptions can be written with five refills and pharmacies are not required to lock them in a safe.

The amendment to the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) re-authorization bill would re-schedule hydrocodone from Schedule III to Schedule II, putting hydrocodone painkillers into the same category as OxyContin and Percocet. Hydrocodone is the most-prescribed prescription drug in the U.S., with 131.2 million prescriptions written in 2010 alone.

Pharmacy organizations are fighting the amendment, saying it will keep such medications out of the hands of patients who need them and increase health care costs.

The amendment’s author, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), says the bipartisan measure would make it far more difficult to abuse addictive pain medicine.

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