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(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT LEE, Va. (Aug. 14, 2014) -- Tramadol (Ultram�) is an opioid-like analgesic (pain medication) that was approved for marketing in the United States in 1995 as a non-controlled prescription drug.

Since its introduction, it has become the most commonly abused drug among narcotic addicts, chronic pain patients and health care workers. As a result, the Drug Enforcement Administration -- with support from the Food and Drug Administration -- has reclassified Tramadol as a Schedule IV controlled substance, effective Monday. This status change will put additional safeguards in place to protect the public.

What does this mean for patients? All prescriptions for Tramadol written and filled before Aug. 18 will expire as of that date, and new prescriptions will be required to get this drug.

New prescriptions will be valid for six months from the date written, and may be refilled up to five times within that six-month period if refills are authorized by a licensed health care provider.

Kenner Army Health Clinic Pharmacy will honor non-controlled prescriptions for Tramadol through Friday (Aug. 15), for a one-time fill and no refills. Ordinarily, patients would request refills through the call-in pharmacy system, (804) 734-9535; however, insufficient time remains for that option so any remaining refills must be requested in person.

The KAHC team thanks its beneficiaries for their patience and understanding as the changes in the status of Tramadol are implemented

Those with questions or comments about this issue can call the pharmacy at (804) 734-9137.