Treating Low Back Pain with Medications Just Became Harder

by / Thursday, 12 February 2015 /

Back pain sufferers will find it more challenging to treat their chronic pain pharmacologically, as the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency has recently published its final rule that places a more-restrictive classification on hydrocodone combination products, or HCPs.  A 2011 market research report indicates that more than 1.5 billion people worldwide suffer from chronic pain1, and it is estimated that as many as 80% of the population will experience a back problem at some time in our lives.2

After 10 years of formal debate and consideration – and 15 years since the idea was first proposed – hydrocodone combination products are being reclassified from the more-permissive Schedule III to the more-restrictive Schedule II category. The rule will take effect in approximately 45 days, or early October 2014. The purpose of the change is to minimize the misuse of the drugs for recreational purposes while ensuring that patients with severe pain still have reasonable access to the amount of drug needed to control their pain and suffering.

What’s the difference between scheduled drugs?

A Schedule III drug currently like Hydrocodone/APAP can be written. It can be orally communicated, it can be faxed, and a provider can grant additional refills without acquiring a new prescription every time.

In contrast, Congress set up Schedule II to be the most restrictive of the medically-legitimate drugs. What the restrictions do is limit the amount available in the drug distribution system to prevent its misuse, or diversion, without unduly compromising patients getting the drug who really need it medically.  Schedule II medications require a written prescription every time. The prescription cannot be called in for the most part, it can’t contain refills and the quantity has to be written in long hand.

So, the most important distinction for the patient is that they need to bring a physical prescription to the pharmacy and another doctor visit is required for more than a 30-day supply.  The expectation is that patients currently treating their chronic pain with medication will consider alternative pain management modalities given the more stringent and time consuming requirements.

Axiom Worldwide and Integrity Life Sciences delivers a multitude of treatment options to address several of the most costly aliments in the world, chronic low back pain and neck pain and in most cases without addicting and long-term side effects of pain medications.  This advanced solution begins with the Integrity Spinal Care System. Integrity and Axiom provide medical devices that address non-surgical spinal decompression therapy systems, which are engineered to provide pain relief for compressive and degenerative conditions of the spine and neck. These specific conditions that may be treated include: neck pain and back pain associated with herniated discs, protruding discs, degenerative disc disease, posterior facet syndrome, and sciatica. It achieves these effects through decompression of the intervertebral discs, that is, unloading to distraction and positioning.

The DEA decision to reclassify HCP’s can be viewed at:


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