Risk of Hydrocodone Abuse and Addiction
Hydrocodone is the most commonly prescribed medication in the United States, with 131 million prescriptions written for 47 million patients in 2011 alone, the FDA reports. The agency’s two-day hearing was held because of a citizen’s petition initiated in 1999 by Ronald Dougherty, MD, former director of a New York addiction treatment center, who felt he had treated far too many patients addicted to very accessible hydrocodone pills. Although the FDA initially decided against categorizing hydrocodone as a Schedule II drug, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) asked the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to reconsider the decision in 2009, after collecting updated information on hydrocodone abuse.
FDA to Make a Final Ruling on Hydrocodone Scheduling
The final decision of the FDA advisory panel met with resistance from representatives of the American Cancer Society, the Healthcare Distribution Management Association (HDMA), the American Academy of Pain Management and the National Association of Chain Drug Store (NACDS), all of whom expressed concerns that up-scheduling hydrocodone medications would limit treatment options for patients suffering from chronic pain. Others, including addiction specialists and family members who have lost loved ones to prescription painkiller abuse countered these concerns. Although the majority decision supported a reclassification of hydrocodone products, the FDA is not required to follow the recommendations of its advisory panel, and it is unclear as yet how the FDA will interpret the panel’s decision.
Contact a Reputable Attorney for Legal Help
No pharmaceutical drug – over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription – should put consumers at risk for serious side effects. Unfortunately, there are a number of drugs currently on the market that have the potential to cause patients serious or even life-threatening harm. If you have suffered serious side effects related to a pharmaceutical drug like hydrocodone, or if you lost a loved one to a pharmaceutical drug overdose, contact a reputable attorney for legal help. Our consumer advocates can help you contact a lawyer in your area with experience handling defective drug cases, so you can discuss your legal options. You may have grounds to file a drug injury case against the manufacturing company, in order to pursue financial compensation for the resulting injuries, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other damages.