New abuse-deterrent labeling on OxyContin aims to curb misuse

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Last week the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved updated labeling standards that will warn OxyContin users that the product will be difficult to abuse through injection or snorting methods.

The drug, made by Purdue Pharma L.P., was recently reformulated into a controlled-release substance to help combat a growing trend of prescription drug abuse that is centered heavily around pain relief narcotics.

According to a press release issued by the FDA, the new version of the drug provides the same therapeutic benefits as the old OxyContin, without the potential for abuse. Previously, users were able to manipulate how much of the drug they took into order to "defeat" the extended-release properties of the substance, leading to adverse health affects and overdoses. According to the Centers for Disease Control, overdose rates by prescription drugs have more than tripled since 1990.

“The development of abuse-deterrent opioid analgesics is a public health priority for the FDA,” Douglas Throckmorton, M.D., deputy director for regulatory programs in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in a press release.

Throckmorton notes that while the reformulated version of the drug can still be abused, abuse will be much harder than it was with the original version, thanks to a tablet that is more difficult to break, crush or dissolve in liquid. The agency also thinks that the new product will reduce the incidence of common patient misuse, such as crushing up the drug and sprinkling it over food. Generic versions of the drug will also be required to have abuse-resistant properties as well.

The FDA will continue to assess how the new drug is impacting abuse rates and will update its evaluation accordingly.

Source: FDA

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