Under a final rule (PDF) published in the Federal Register, the pain reliever tramadol is now classified as a Schedule IV controlled substance (CS).

Starting August 18, 2014, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will require manufacturers to print the “C-IV” designation on all labels that contain 2- [(dimethylamino)methyl]-1-(3-methoxyphenyl)cyclohexanol (tramadol), including its salts, isomers, and salts of isomers.

The agency notes that every “DEA registrant who possesses any quantity of tramadol on the effective date of this final rule must take an inventory of all stocks of tramadol on hand as of August 18, 2014, pursuant to 21 U.S.C. 827 and 958, and in accordance with 21 CFR 1304.03,1304.04, and 1304.11 (a) and (d).” In addition, all “prescriptions for tramadol or products containing tramadol must comply with 21 U.S.C. 829, and be issued in accordance with 21 CFR part 1306 and subpart C of 21 CFR part 1311 as of August 18, 2014.”

National Association of State Controlled Substances Authorities notes (PDF) that several states have already classified tramadol as a CS. To “provide a reasonable time for registrants to comply with the handling requirements” for a Schedule IV CS, DEA established the effective date of the final rule as 45 days from the date of publication.