The Food and Drug Administration is recommending new restrictions on prescription medicines containing hydrocodone, the highly addictive painkiller that has grown into the most widely prescribed drug in the United States.
In a major policy shift, the agency said in an online notice Thursday that hydrocodone-containing drugs should be subject to the same restrictions as other narcotics like oxycodone and morphine.
The move comes more than a decade after the Drug Enforcement Agency first asked the FDA to reclassify hydrocodone so that it would be subject to the same restrictions as other addictive painkilling drugs. The FDA did not issue a formal announcement about its decision, which has long been sought by many patient advocates, doctors and state and federal lawmakers. Full story for BostonGlobe.com subscribers.