ADA Member Update – September 2014

ADA American Dental Association

Member Update

DEA Imposes Tighter Regulations on Hydrocodone Combination Products (HCPs)

On Aug. 22, 2014, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced that hydrocodone combination products (HCPs), which include opioids such as Vicodin, Lorcet, Lortab and Norco, will be reclassified as Schedule II substances and subject to tighter restrictions. HCPs had previously been classified as products under the less-restrictive Schedule III. The reclassification takes effect Oct. 6, 2014.

According to the DEA, the reclassification will protect public health and safety by reducing the potential for abuse, dependence and diversion of these highly-addictive substances while still ensuring that they’re available to patients with legitimate medical need and in ongoing consultation with the health care professional.

HCPs are the most frequently-prescribed drugs in the U.S. More than 137 million prescriptions for HCPs were written in 2013 and nearly 7 million Americans abuse controlled-substance prescription medications, including opioid painkillers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that each year more than 27,000 people, 75 per day, die from opioid-related causes. To put this in perspective, more people – especially those between ages 25 and 64 – die from prescription drug overdoses than from car accidents.

The ADA has been following this issue since 2012, when the DEA asked the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for an advisory opinion about the public health impact of rescheduling hydrocodone-containing drug products. The ADA and AAOMS commented at every stage the rescheduling was being considered. Both organizations even testified before an FDA advisory panel. Find out more at For a list of Frequently Asked Questions on the HCP reclassification, including how it impacts practices, prescriptions and patients, please visit ADA’s Center for Professional Success (CPS).

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This email was distributed to members of the American Dental Association.