Do you know what it means when a drug is grouped into a certain schedule? Simply put, drug schedules are used to determine how addictive a substance may be. Since Schedule I substances are completely different from Schedule V substances when it comes to their strength and impact, it’s important to know the difference between these categories.


The Basics of Drug Scheduling

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) groups all drugs into five total classifications or schedules: Schedule I, Schedule II, Schedule III, Schedule IV, and Schedule V. Which schedule a drug lands in depends on its potential for abuse and its accepted medical use.

Schedule I substances like heroin, LSD, marijuana, and ecstasy are the most likely to lead to physical or psychological dependence. As the schedule changes, so does the abuse potential of a drug. The higher the number goes, the lower the potential is. Schedule V drugs, for example, have the lowest potential for abuse.


What Are Schedule V Drugs?

When related to Schedule IV drugs, Schedule V substances are less likely to trigger dependence and abuse. Because they are not as likely to lead to addiction, all Schedule V substances are currently accepted for medical use in the United States. Most Schedule V drugs consist of preparations that contain limited quantities of certain narcotics to make the medication stronger.

However, there is still a small chance for dependence that comes with these substances. If someone heavily abuses Schedule V drugs, they may develop a limited physical or psychological dependence.

Schedule V substances are typically available over the counter, but may require a prescription in some cases. Examples of Schedule V substances, with both their brand name and generic name, include:

  • Ambenyl (bromodiphenhydramine/codeine)
  • CapCof (chlorpheniramine/codeine/phenylephrine)
  • EndaCof-AC (brompheniramine/codeine)
  • Histex-AC (codeine/phenylephrine/triprolidine)
  • Lomocot (atropine/diphenoxylate)
  • Lyrica (pregabalin)
  • Nalex AC (brompheniramine/codeine)
  • Poly-Tussin (chlorcyclizine/codeine)
  • Potiga (ezogabine)
  • Vimpat (lacosamide)
  • Robitussin AC (guaifenesin/codeine)
  • Lomotil (diphenoxylate/atropine)
  • Motofen (difenoxin/atropine)
  • Lyrica (pregabalin)
  • Parepectolin (attapulgite)
  • Potiga (ezogabine)


These medications are all designed to help ease certain physical symptoms and treat the side effects of specific conditions. The most common of the drugs listed above is Robitussin AC, which is an over-the-counter cough syrup.

Schedule V substances are generally used for antidiarrheal, antitussive, and analgesic purposes. They can also be used for coughs that are related to minor illnesses. These medications are ideal for individuals who would benefit from treatment but don’t want to risk becoming dependent on anything.


Responsible Use of Schedule V Drugs

Schedule V drugs, like all other substances, should only be used according to dose. If these drugs are misused to a large degree, a dependence may develop. It is also important to understand the individual side effects of every medication you take so that you are prepared. If you are considering moving from a Schedule V substance to a Schedule IV substance, talk to your doctor first to see how the medication may affect you.

Have more questions about Schedule V substances or to discuss treatment? Contact our team of substance abuse treatment specialists by calling 267.209.7312