Pharmacy Services

Hydrocodone Combination Products

August 29, 2014

DEA issued a final rule on August 22, 2014 to reschedule hydrocodone combination products from schedule III (CIII) to schedule II (CII) controlled substances due to their high potential for abuse. The ruling applies to all pharmaceuticals containing hydrocodone currently on the market in the U.S., such as hydrocodone and acetaminophen combination products and cough suppressants. The new rule is effective October 6, 2014, following which all hydrocodone-containing products will be subject to schedule II regulatory controls and sanctions.

Hydrocodone-only products have been listed as schedule II controlled substances since 1971, and will remain as schedule II controlled substances.

This change will affect prescription refills as follows:

  • Before October 6, 2014: Hydrocodone combination prescriptions written or dispensed may be refilled in accordance with the current law. However, all refills on such prescriptions must be dispensed before April 8, 2015 (ie, 6 months after the new schedule status goes into effect).
  • On or after October 6, 2014: Hydrocodone combination prescriptions may not authorize any refills. A new prescription must be written by the prescriber if the patient requires continued therapy.

Additional information is available at the following link:

August 29, 2014; August 26, 2014; University of Utah, Drug Information Service.  Copyright 2014, Drug Information Service, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT.