A: The FDA is constantly reviewing medications and making changes as they are needed. Recently, there have been changes made to two different pain medications due to their potential for misuse. In August, the medication Ultram (Tramadol) became a schedule IV medication. This means that prescriptions are only good for six months from the date written, and they may only have a maximum of five refills now. Any prescriptions written prior to the change in August will be updated to meet these new guidelines.
The other major change is scheduled to occur on Oct. 6. This is when all products that contain hydrocodone will move to a schedule II status. This means that prescriptions such as: Lortab, Vicodin and Norco will have new restrictions on filling them. In order to fill a medication containing hydrocodone, you will now have to bring in a new written prescription each time. They can’t be phoned or faxed in by the doctor. Prescriptions for hydrocodone are also not allowed to have refills any longer. Make sure to ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have questions on these new changes to make sure you don’t run out of your pain medications.
Information provided by Lena Mullins, Pharm D., Hy-Vee Drugstore, 1541 S.E. Third St., Suite 100, 986-4527.