According to Dr. Andrew K. Chang, MD, lead author and associate professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, when it comes to superior pain relief , Vicodin was ineffective, in comparison to Tylenol #3, which is a codeine/acetaminophen combination.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is considering tightening prescription standards for Vicodin, and changing its category from a Schedule III drug to a Schedule II drug.
Schedule III drugs are considered a secondary probability for abuse, while Schedule II drugs are considered to have a high potential for abuse, and addiction.
Vicodin is typically an over-prescribed drug, designed to alleviate the half to high levels of pain. Because individuals don’t associate the drug with illegal street drugs, personal prescriptions are often overlooked, thereby falling into the hands of adolescents.
Vicodin is also not tightly regulated, as some other prescription drugs, so that it can contribute to their wide distribution. This has precipitated the study into the effectiveness of other pain relievers according to Homejoy.
“This study was conducted because despite the preference of prescribing Vicodin over Tylenol, there was little evidence to support an advantage of Vicodin,” Dr. Chang.
On a pain scale of 1 to 10, both medications worked to diminish pain by 50 percent. However, Vicodin did not provide superior relief over Tylenol #3.
In 1991, the University of Pittsburgh conducted a trial study on pain relief, using hydrocodone versus codeine, and the research team concluded hydrocodone was more effective than codeine.