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Research Letter |

Effect of US Drug Enforcement Administration’s Rescheduling of Hydrocodone Combination Analgesic Products on Opioid Analgesic Prescribing

Christopher M. Jones, PharmD, MPH1; Peter G. Lurie, MD, MPH2; Douglas C. Throckmorton, MD2
[+] Author Affiliations
1Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, US Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, DC
2Office of the Commissioner, US Food and Drug Administration, Silver Spring, Maryland
JAMA Intern Med. 2016;176(3):399-402. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.7799.
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This study examines national patterns to identify effects on opioid analgesic prescribing before and after the US Drug Enforcement Administration’s rescheduling of hydrocodone combination analgesic products.

Prescription opioid abuse is a major public health problem in the United States.1 The opioid analgesic hydrocodone bitartrate, traditionally available in combination with nonopioid analgesics, is one of the most commonly abused opioids.2 In 2011, hydrocodone combination analgesic products were involved in almost 100 000 abuse-related emergency department visits in the United States, more than double the number in 2004.3

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Dispensed and Predicted Hydrocodone Combination Product (Blue) and Nonhydrocodone Combination Product (Orange) Opioid Analgesic Prescriptions and Tablets

The data are from US retail pharmacies by quarter (Q) between October 1, 2011, and September 30, 2015. The solid lines show the number dispensed, and the dashed lines show the number predicted. The black vertical line represents time of rescheduling action by the Drug Enforcement Administration. Error bars indicate 95% CIs.

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