New Non-Tampering Time Release Painkillers Limit Abuse

New Non-Tampering Time Release Painkillers Limit Abuse

The abuse of prescription painkillers has been called an epidemic in the United States, and there has been increasing demand for ways to limit the misuse of the drugs. In many cases, addiction begins with a legitimate pain issue and gradually becomes problematic. However, in many situations, the abuse is intentional.

A recent improvement made to oxycodone (marketed as OxyContin) features an extended-release medication that is tamper-proof. The drug was developed as a way to combat the high rates of abuse of the medication.

The research was conducted by accessing Inflexxion’s NAVIPPRO data to determine whether rates of abuse improved following the introduction of the new formulation. The researchers used the data to look at rates of abuse and whether they had declined, and also examined whether the new drug was less likely to be abused using non-oral administration, which result from tampering with the drug.

The researchers used information from 140,496 individuals examined for substance abuse at 357 substance abuse treatment centers. While the findings of the analysis provided the results hoped for with the new formulation, the study’s results are initial findings and require further confirmation through additional research.

The study is innovative in its objective to assess the public health aspect of using a tamper resistant design for a new extended-release prescription painkiller. The new formulation utilizes physiochemical barriers that prevent dissolving or crushing as a means to non-oral use of the drug.

The study, published in a recent issue in the Journal of Pain, is based on the changes in drug availability in the market. On August 5, 2010, manufacturers discontinued the distribution of the original ER oxycodone. The shipments of the new formulation began on August 9, 2010.

The study finds that during the first 20 months that the new formulation was available, there was a significant reduction in abuse when compared with the abuse documented for the original ER oxycodone. The changes were measured using eight outcomes, and particular attention was given to the non-oral administration of the drug, such as through smoking or injection.

The study examined admissions to the treatment facilities between June 1, 2009 and March 31, 2012 to assess levels of oral and non-oral routes to abuse of oxycodone, both before and after the new formulation was introduced.

The results indicated that there were significant improvements realized through the introduction of the new formulation across the eight measures of outcomes. The data was collected using the Inflexxion NAVIPPRO system, which compiles information from hundreds of treatment centers across the country.

The findings, say first author Stephen F. Butler, PhD, Senior Vice President and Chief Science Officer at Inflexxion, suggest that tamper-proof extended release formulations may significantly reduce the abuse of prescription painkillers.

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