Effective October 6, 2014 The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency is reclassifying Hydrocodone combination products or HCPs from the more permissive Schedule III to a Schedule II drug. Examples include Norco, Vicodin and Lortab. Hydrocodone plus acetaminophen is the most widely prescribed drug in the country since 2007. This will impact assisting living. As a schedule III, hydrocodone products could be faxed or orally communicated from the physician to the pharmacy. This is no longer the case. A written prescription must be presented to the pharmacy. Refilling these meds is going to be more of a challenge. What can we do for this change?
- Check how many of your residents may be affected. (Keep in mind this can also include liquid cough medications with Hydrocodone).
- Verify how your resident’s prescribers wish to handle this. There is an allowance for multiple scripts to be written with “do not fill before” dates. Not all MDs will want to handle refills this way.
- Contact your pharmacy to create mutual agreed upon protocols for both the pharmacy and the community.
- Train med techs and nurses on the critical importance of ordering refills with sufficient time for proper delivery of the med, especially with these new requirements.
Take a 1 credit hour caregiver course: How To Manage Medications