Medications that contain hydrocodone combined with other analgesic ingredients should be more tightly regulated, recommended a US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory committee in late January.
In recent years, there has been growing concern about abuse of prescription painkillers. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2010, 1 in 20 US individuals reported nonmedical use of painkillers in the previous year. The CDC also noted that the number of overdose deaths involving opioid medications more than tripled between 1999 and 2008, from 4000 to nearly 15 000 (http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/rxbrief/). In an attempt to curb abuse of painkillers, government agencies have proposed a range of approaches, including better education for prescribers and better prescription monitoring programs.
Kuehn BM. FDA Committee: More Restrictions Needed on Hydrocodone Combination Products. JAMA. 2013;309(9):862. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.1609