FDA Considering Stricter Rules for Painkillers

FDA Considering Stricter Rules for Painkillers

January 24, 2013 Updated Jan 24, 2013 at 6:18 PM EDT

Officials at the Drug Enforcement Administration have asked the Food and Drug Administration to consider stricter prescription rules for painkillers that contain hydrocodone -- like Vicodin -- after noting a significant spike in people abusing the drugs.

The FDA is conducting a two-day meeting to determine whether narcotics containing hydrocodone need to be classified as schedule two drugs, which would mean fewer prescriptions could be written at one time and pharmacies would have to lock the drugs in cabinets or safes.

Other painkillers, like oxycontin and percocet, are subject to those rules.

In the past, the FDA has stated hyrdocodone drugs are less addictive than other painkillers, but several doctors and DEA experts disagree.

An FDA advisory panel will make an official recommendation on Friday. The FDA does not have to follow the panel's advice, but it usually does.

There are more than 100 million prescriptions for Vicodin written each year.

For more information visit: www.fda.gov.

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