TDI-DWC Reports on Federal Reclassification of Hydrocodone Combination Drugs
Written by Editor   
Friday, September 26, 2014 04:05 AM

In a September 23, 2014, memorandum the Division of Workers' Compensation of the Texas Department of Insurance reported that "On August 22, 2014, the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) published a final rule in the Federal Register (http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/fed_regs/rules/2014/fr0822.htm )reclassifying hydrocodone combination drugs from Schedule III to Schedule II in the Schedule of Controlled Substances."

They also note "hydrocodone combinations are the most frequently prescribed drugs in the Texas workers’ compensation system and are impacted by this change."

The Federal rule includes notations that "This reclassification is not only justified given the high abuse and addiction potential of hydrocodone prescription painkillers * * *, it is necessary to combat the drug abuse epidemic that is destroying so many [ ] communities."

"The abuse of hydrocodone is an urgent problem that necessitates urgent action." The U.S. Senator wrote that, "rescheduling hydrocodone combination drugs would be a tremendous step forward in the fight to curb the prescription drug abuse epidemic that has ravaged * * * our country. It will help prevent these highly addictive drugs from getting into the wrong hands and devastating families and communities * * *. I urge the DEA to move quickly in finalizing its regulations so that we are able to save hundreds of thousands of lives."

"The DEA finds that the scientific, medical, and epidemiological data are robust and support rescheduling HCPs into schedule II of the CSA. Various drug abuse indicators for HCPs indicate that HCPs are widely diverted and abused at rates largely similar to that of oxycodone products (schedule II). The data indicate that HCPs have an abuse potential similar to schedule II opioid analgesics such as oxycodone and their abuse is associated with severe psychological or physical dependence. Abuse of HCPs is also associated with large numbers of individuals being admitted to addiction treatment centers. Individuals are taking these drugs in sufficient quantities to create a hazard to their health, and abuse of HCPs is associated with large numbers of deaths. Further, data from several different drug abuse monitoring databases support the conclusion that HCPs have a high potential for abuse similar to other schedule II opioid analgesics."

This reclassification change, regardless of payer type, impacts all physicians and pharmacies throughout the nation. This federal change applies to drugs prescribed and dispensed in the Texas workers’ compensation system.