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New DEA Rules for Hydrocodone Combination Medications
After October 3, 2014, many Veterans may notice VA prescription changes for hydrocodone combination (HC) medications. It's important to know how these rule changes affect your HC prescription when using My HealtheVet.
Brand names for HCs include AZDONE, LORCET, LORTAB, IBUDONE, TUSSIONEX or VICODIN. VA prescription bottles will typically list HYDROCODONE and another medicine such as ACETAMINOPHEN. These medicines may be used to relieve pain or to reduce coughing.
The change comes from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). The new rule changes HC medicines from a Schedule III drug to a Schedule II drug. They will now be more strictly controlled. The DEA did this because these medications were found to be highly abused, habit forming and potentially deadly in overdoses. These stricter regulations should improve their safe use for everyone.
If you have a prescription for a hydrocodone-containing medication and use My HealtheVet's Prescription Refill feature, the number of refills showing on the 'Refill My Prescription' page may reflect your original prescription. It will change when your doctor re-writes the prescription based on the new restriction on refills and expiration date. Refills of new HC prescriptions will no longer be allowed on or after October 3, 2014 and quantities will be limited to a 30-day supply.