Prescriptions for combination drugs containing hydrocodone (e.g., Vicodin) dropped after the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration enacted tighter controls by moving them from Schedule III to Schedule II in 2014. Researchers published their findings in JAMA Internal Medicine.
Using data on dispensed retail prescriptions, the researchers examined the number of prescriptions filled for hydrocodone-containing products for the 12 months before and after the rescheduling. Prescriptions for hydrocodone combination products fell by 22% in the year after rescheduling, and the number of dispensed tablets fell by 16%. The elimination of refills accounted for most of these declines.
Prescriptions for nonhydrocodone combination opioid analgesics increased modestly during the same period.