hydrocodon_009 webAs of Oct. 6, 2014, people prescribed painkillers containing hydrocodone must visit their doctor’s office to pick up a prescription for the medicine in person, since the drug has been reclassified as Schedule II. Previously it had been classified by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency as a schedule III drug, meaning doctors could call the prescription in to a pharmacy. Common medications that contain hydrocodone include Vicodin, Norco and Lortab.

The change means that each time a person needs a refill they must visit their doctor’s office and pick up a hard copy prescription for a maximum 30-day supply — refills cannot be faxed or phoned in. Doctors are still permitted to phone in a 72-hour supply, but must follow up by mailing a prescription to a pharmacy. People who take hydrocodone for long-term pain therapy can get a 90-day supply with three separate, no-refill, prescriptions.

Hydrocodone is a semi-synthetic opioid derived from codeine and is only available in combination with other ingredients. It is commonly combined with acetaminophen,