Painkiller restrictions could hamper nursing home residents, providers

Share this article:

Nursing home residents could be adversely affected if proposed painkiller regulations are put in place, according to experts who spoke at a recent federal hearing.

After meeting for two days last week at the Food and Drug Administration headquarters in Maryland, the panel voted 19-10 to make it tougher to access hydrocodone painkillers such as Vicodin. Under the regulations, patients would have to obtain new prescriptions for refills and would not be able to obtain these by fax or phone. Critics say this would hurt nursing home residents with mobility issues, who would have to visit a physician to get needed drugs.

Among other proposed changes, nurse practitioners and physician assistants would no longer be able to prescribe hydrocodone, and distributors would have to store the drugs in vaults. The FDA is likely to accept the proposed changes, according to a New York Times report. The Department of Health and Human Services would then have to approve them.

The panel was convened at the request of the Drug Enforcement Administration, which argues that tightening access to these medications is necessary to combat rampant prescription drug addiction. While the painkiller oxycodone is related to more deaths, hydrocodone can also be dangerous and is the most widely prescribed drug in the country. Access to these drugs is a matter of concern for nursing homes, which have been affected by crimes related to both hydrocodone and oxycodone.

Share this article:

More in News

Double homicide at Houston nursing home; victims' roommate arrested

Double homicide at Houston nursing home; victims' roommate ...

A double murder occurred late Tuesday night in a Houston nursing home room shared by four men, according to local authorities. Police arrested Guillermo Correa on suspicion of beating two ...

$2 million HIPAA settlement highlights mobile device risks facing healthcare providers

Laptops and other mobile devices containing personal health information have been stolen from long-term care ombudsman programs and other healthcare organizations, including from Concentra Health Services and QCA Health Plan Inc. Now, Concentra and QCA have agreed to legal settlements totaling nearly $2 million, federal ...

Long-term care nurses often 'scramble' to get family members' blessing for palliative ...

Nursing home residents might not transition to full palliative care until they are very near death, at which point nurses and family members act in a state of crisis, suggests recently published research out of Canada.