FDA Recommends Stricter Restrictions on Hydrocodone Related to Risk of Overdose & Addiction
The FDA has increased its scrutiny of hydrocodone, which is an opioid drug used in cough syrup and pain medication, because of concerns about the risk of serious injury and death associated with overdoses from the highly addictive drug. Medications that contain hydrocodone, which constitutes the most widely prescribed drug in the U.S., will now be subject to the same restrictions as other opioid narcotic drugs like morphine and oxycodone according to a new FDA policy included in a notice just published online. If you or a loved one suffers serious side effects or even a fatal overdose from use of a drug containing hydrocodone, depending on the circumstances you may have the right to seek financial compensation for your injury or the death of a loved one. Our dangerous drug attorneys at Montlick and Associates are committed to providing aggressive legal representation on behalf of victims of large pharmaceutical companies that harm consumers with unsafe drugs.
Hydrocodone has become the most widely prescribed prescription drug because it is easier for doctors to prescribe at least to some degree because it is often combined with non-addictive medications like acetaminophen and aspirin. This popularity was gained even though the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) recommended the change in policy that was just adopted by the FDA more than a decade ago. During a recent twelve month period, patients received over 131 million prescriptions for hydrocodone either alone or in a combination drug. Hydrocodone is often combined with non-opioid painkillers like Lortab® and Vicodin® as well as comprising part of many generic formulations.
The FDA’s new policy includes a request that hydrocodone be formally reclassified as a Schedule II narcotic, which will limit what types of medical practitioners can prescribe the drug as well as impose limits on the number of refills. While Vicodin®, which contains hydrocodone, can be refilled five times as a Schedule III drug before the patient must visit the doctor, the Schedule II classification will mean that only a single ninety day prescription may be provided. Further, the change in classification will mean that the drug may not be prescribed by a physician’s assistants or nurses.
Prescription drugs that contain hydrocodone can be addictive which often leads to an increased dosage over time as patients acquire tolerance to the drug. Further, the drug acetaminophen (with which hydrocodone frequently is combined) has been declared by the FDA to be the leading cause of liver failure in the U.S. Some of the serious physical effects of a hydrocodone overdose may include the following:
- Cardiac arrest
- Depressed respiration
- Clamminess of the skin
- Slowed heart rate (bradycardia)
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If you or a family member suffers a hydrocodone overdose, you may have a right to financial recovery for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and compensation for other forms of harm. Our Atlanta personal injury attorneys at Montlick and Associates have been helping injury victims and their families for over thirty years throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.