Changes To Tramadol and Hydrocodone Prescriptions

The DEA has changed the laws and prescription restrictions on two commonly prescribed pain killers: Tramadol and Hydrocodone. These new rules and restrictions went into effect October 6th, 2014. These changes will effect how you get your HCP prescription, an increased frequency of doctor visits, and how you can legally get your refills.

Changes for Tramadol:

  1. Drug will be classified as a schedule IV drug.
  2. Prescription orders are valid for 6 months.
  3. Five refills are allowed in a 6-month period.
  4. Oral prescriptions are allowed.
  5. Depending on your state, you may have to show identification to pick up your tramadol prescription

Changes for Hydrocodone:

  1. Reclassified drug from schedule III to more restrictive schedule II
  2. Prescriptions must be written by the physician.
  3. Doctors may not call or fax prescriptions to the pharmacy.
  4. No refills are allowed. A new prescription is required for each refill.

Vicodin and Lortab are two of the best known HCPs. So if you routinely use these drugs and get refills you will notice more restrictions on obtaining these drugs from your pharmacy. More doctor visits will be needed to get your prescription refills.

Per If your doctor is willing to do so, the DEA does allow physicians to write up to 90 days worth of an HCP at one time by giving you three separate prescriptions, dated 30 days apart. That way you would only have to make a trip to your doctor’s office every three months.

What if you have any existing HCP refills?
The DEA has issued a rules clarification determining that existing prescriptions for HCPs with remaining refills my be refilled until April 8, 2015. (

We are confident these federal changes will cause some inconvenience for some of our patients. If you have any problems or questions,  please visit or contact us at 251.436.8039 or email


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