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FDA supports tighter restrictions on hydrocodone

| Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013, 7:45 p.m.

WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration is recommending tighter restrictions on prescription medicines containing hydrocodone, the highly addictive painkiller that has grown into the most widely prescribed drug in the United States.

In a major policy shift, the agency said in an online notice on Thursday that hydrocodone-containing drugs should be subject to the same restrictions as other narcotic drugs such as oxycodone and morphine.

More than a decade has passed since the Drug Enforcement Agency asked the FDA to reclassify hydrocodone so that it would be subject to the same restrictions as other opioid drugs. The FDA did not issue a formal announcement about its decision, which has long been sought by many patient advocates, doctors and lawmakers.

In early December, the FDA says it will formally request that hydrocodone be classified as a Schedule II drug, limiting who can write a prescription and how many times it can be refilled.

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