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Change in OxyContin Formula Is Effective With Curtailing Illegal Use But Drug Abusers Are Moving On To Heroin and Other Opioids

Posted Jul 12 2012 12:57pm

Research numbers are showing that the use of OxyContin with their imagenew formula to make it harder to crush and abuse have decreased by around 35% but the downside of this is the switch to heroin and other drugs.  This is kind of sad as it stopped abuse in one area and then in another area which has been substantiated with law enforcement comments, in enabling other drugs to gain ground. 

I don’t think this will be solved for a while as it seems there’s always a “next” on the list.  In addition, Purdue received FDA approval for patches that also contain an opioid compound so one wonders if these are safe or is there a potential for abuse with a patch format too, just a question. 

Purdue Pharma Receives FDA Approval for Butrans™ Transdermal System For Severe Pain Management

This drug will probably always be in the news due to the 2007 court case to where the executives pleaded guilty on their marketing of the drug and claimed that it was less addictive than it really is.  BD

Newswise — A change in the formula of the frequently abused prescription painkiller OxyContin has many abusers switching to a drug that is potentially more dangerous, according to researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

The formula change makes inhaling or injecting the opioid drug more difficult, so many users are switching to heroin, the scientists report in the July 12 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Then in 2010, a new formulation of the drug was introduced. The new pills were much more difficult to crush and dissolved more slowly. The idea, according to principal investigator Theodore J. Cicero, PhD, was to make the drug less attractive to illicit users who wanted to experience an immediate high.

“Our data show that OxyContin use by inhalation or intravenous administration has dropped significantly since that abuse-deterrent formulation came onto the market,” says Cicero, a professor of neuropharmacology in psychiatry. “In that sense, the new formulation was very successful.”

“The most unexpected, and probably detrimental, effect of the abuse-deterrent formulation was that it contributed to a huge surge in the use of heroin, which is like OxyContin in that it also is inhaled or injected,” he says. “We’re now seeing reports from across the country of large quantities of heroin appearing in suburbs and rural areas. Unable to use OxyContin easily, which was a very popular drug in suburban and rural areas, drug abusers who prefer snorting or IV drug administration now have shifted either to more potent opioids, if they can find them, or to heroin.”

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