Monday, Aug 25, 2014

Despite concerns expressed by the ADA and other stakeholders, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has finalized a rule to classify hydrocodone combination products such as Vicodin and Norco as Schedule II drugs instead of Schedule III.

The reclassification, effective Oct. 6, will impact dentists with a Schedule III DEA registration because they will have to reregister with the DEA for Schedule II authority to continue prescribing/refilling certain pain-relieving medications for their patients. The DEA is permitting hydrocodone combination products prescriptions issued before Oct. 6 to be refilled until April 8, 2015, if the prescription authorizes refills.

The DEA's ruling stems from a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommendation that hydrocodone combination products be put into a more restrictive classification and schedule, with the goal being to boost control over prescriptions from dentists and physicians.

For more information or to change your DEA registration, visit the DEA's website and look under "Registration Support." If you have additional questions, contact CDA Practice Analyst Teresa Pichay at teresa.pichay@cda.org. CDA also has a "Controlled Substances Prescribing and Dispensing" resource available at cda.org.