FDA Approves OxyContin for Kids

OxyContinSeveral areas of the healthcare field are abuzz with the recent news that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) just approved the use of OxyContin to treat chronic pain in children as young as 11 years old. Those disturbed most by the decision are addiction treatment and prevention specialists. However, some doctors remain uncertain.

OxyContin is a powerful prescription narcotic that is in an extended release form that is often given for moderate to severe chronic pain. All oxycodone products have a very high potential for abuse, and the drug’s maker, Purdue Pharma, has settled major lawsuits claiming it withheld evidence of the additional risks that OxyContin carries. The maker eventually introduced tamper-resistant forms, but many users are still able to get around that.

A lot of people have heard of OxyContin because of the prescription painkiller epidemic that has swept across the country. Many believe that OxyContin was one of the biggest culprits of this disturbing trend, as well as a gateway drug to heroin. Patients who were prescribed the drug can easily become dependent on it and eventually addicted to. Thousands of people now die each year from overdoses on synthetic opioids like this drug.

Given all this information and the deadly history with the drug, why would the FDA approve it for use in children? Dr. Sharon Hertz with the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research claims that it is okay for certain uses and said, “new study data and resulting pediatric indication for OxyContin give doctors more specific information on how to safely manage pain in their pediatric patients following these types of surgery or traumas.”

Regardless of how safe particular studies may claim the drug is for children, the fear is that it will once again be overprescribed, leaving thousands of young people at serious risk of harm.

U.S. Senator Urges HHS to Overturn FDA Approval of Potent Painkiller

senatorjoemanchinSenator Joe Manchin (D – W.Va.) issued a letter on March 10th to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius urging the Department to overturn the FDA’s approval of the new painkiller Zohydro. The drug is a powerful form of hydrocodone that has many people worried throughout the country.

In his letter, Manchin wrote, “For inexplicable reasons, the FDA approved Zohydro ER despite strong opposition from its own Anesthetic and Analgesic Drug Products Advisory Committee, which voted 11-2 against allowing Zohydro ER to advance in the approval process. Simply put, the FDA’s approval of Zohydro ER, in its current form, must be stopped before this dangerous drug is sold to the public.”

The Senator also expressed concern over multiple allegations that FDA officials have taken payments from pharmaceutical companies and that a “pay to play” system of corruption has been in place for some time in the world of legal drug marketing.

West Virginia is just one of the multiple states throughout the country that have seen the devastating effects of opioid painkiller abuse and addiction. Overdose deaths and a plethora of other problems have risen and caused hardship for millions of people. The drug is feared to have similarly devastating effects as OxyContin has had, which is an extended-release version of the powerful drug oxycodone. Zohydro is also an extended-release drug that is said to be many times stronger than other hydrocodone products currently on the market.

If you have a loved one struggling with an addiction to prescription painkillers or any other type of drugs, contact Addiction Treatment Services to find out more about intervention, rehabilitation, and other recovery resources.