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New Restrictions on Hydrocodone to Take Effect

Painkillers
Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images

The federal government is finalizing new restrictions on hundreds of medicines containing hydrocodone, the highly addictive painkiller that has grown into the most widely prescribed drug in the U.S.

The new rules mean that Vicodin, Lortab and other generic versions will be subject to the same prescribing rules as painkillers like codeine and oxycodone. Patients will be limited to one 90-day supply of medication and will have to see a physician to receive a refill.

The move, announced in a federal posting, comes more than a decade after the Drug Enforcement Administration first recommended reclassifying hydrocodone due to its risks for abuse and addiction. For years, physicians groups and the Food and Drug Administration opposed the move, saying it would create extra work and drive up health care costs.

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