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Eliminating Vicodin and Percocet would Lower Doctor’s Options for Treatment

Posted Jul 09 2009 10:43pm

Is it an option to prescribe oxycodone or hydrocodone without acetaminophen as they would be stronger?  With the focus on acetaminophen with image the liver the numbers of overdoses appear small, but you could do the same thing with alcohol and there are deaths every year with an overdoes of liquor too.  As the doctors state, if taken as directed, there’s not an issue, like for a few days after surgery.  Removing the Tylenol doesn’t seem like a very good approach if you are trying to reduce the amount of people addicted, and if they are abusing drugs, somewhere along the line the liver may be affected in some other way too.  If e-prescribing were allowed on additional medications, it would make it easier for the doctors to track too. 

I know I certainly needed a couple pills after some oral surgery a few years ago with my bone being  cut in my jaw, but after 2 days I was done with pain pills, a legitimate reason for Vicodin.  BD

Dr. Scott A. Berger hands out Vicodin nearly every day for pain relief from herniated discs and minor surgical procedures.

Yet, if a powerful Food and Drug Administration panel has its way, the most commonly prescribed drug in the United States soon will be off the market.

Last month, the FDA's federal advisory panel voted 20-17 to ban Vicodin and Percocet, drugs that combine hydrocodone and oxycodone with acetaminophen. An overdose of acetaminophen can cause liver damage or even death. Dr. Graham Whitfield, an orthopedic surgeon in West Palm Beach, doesn't understand the logic behind banning a drug which, when taken as prescribed, won't harm a patient.

The FDA has yet to announce whether it will follow its panel's recommendations. "These drugs have what is a ceiling effect, above which they really do not give more pain relief, but rather side effects," Berger said. "You may prescribe Percocet for five to six days after an operation, but then you no longer need the medication. They can be useful in the chronic setting provided they are limited in quantity and used in an as-needed setting."

Doctors say an FDA ban on Vicodin and Percocet would limit their treatment options

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