WASHINGTON (WUSA9)-- The Food and Drug Administration wants to place harsher restrictions on some of your most commonly-prescribed narcotic painkillers, including Vicodin.
The FDA says that they are aiming to reclassify drugs containing hydrocodone, an opioid painkiller that, in many cases, can potentially lead to addiction.
This new classification means that a patient prescribed these drugs will be limited in the number of refills they can receive before following-up with their doctor. It also means that patients must have a written prescription when they go to the pharmacy; no doctor phone-in prescriptions will be accepted.
Many doctors oppose this proposed change, citing that it would cause unnecessary difficulties to the patients, especially to the elderly. However, the FDA argues that the addiction to these painkillers has resulted in too many deaths.
By classifying these painkillers as "Schedule II" drugs- rather than "Schedule III" - the FDA would align these meds with the same regulations of oxycodone and morphine.
On its website, the FDA released a statement that it has become "increasingly concerned about the abuse and misuse of opioid products, which have sadly reached epidemic proportions in certain parts of the United States."