On Thursday, the U.S. Food and Drug administration agreed to allow OxyContin’s maker recommend a limited use of the controversial pain killer to kids aged 11 to 16 years old.
OxyContin is a very powerful opioid, which is used by patients only in severe and chronic pains, but due to it being highly addictive many drug abusers use it, too.
Dr. Sharon Hertz, a researcher working with the FDA’s Anesthesia, Analgesia and Addiction Products department, explained that a series of trials conducted by the drug’s manufacturer showed that the pain reliever was safe for 11 to 16-year-old patients “if done properly.”
Dr. Hertz also said that the company provided the federal agency with helpful prescribers containing instructions on how the pill should be used in children. OxyContin is an improved version of oxycodone, which is a type of opioid that inhibits the brain’s pain centers in the same manner heroin does and it is recommended by doctors only in severe cases of chronic pain.
Because the drug has a very intense action on the body and is also extremely addictive, states have tight rules on its use. Yet, that doesn’t stop drug addicts to overuse it or irresponsible doctors to overprescribe it.
In 2010, its maker created a new formula for OxyContin to discourage drug abusers from crushing the pill for a quicker effect. Yet, oxycodone-based pain relievers along with other opioids such as Percocet and Vicodin are still the subject of a lot of controversy due to their highly addictive nature, the diseases and deaths linked to them.
According to official records, about 45 people die daily from opioid overuse in the U.S. alone. In 2013, more than 14,000 Americans died due to overdose caused by opiods, a CDC report shows.
Last month, Michael Botticelli of the National Drug Control Policy, acknowledged before a House panel that opiods affect significantly public health and security of residents in all states across the U.S.
About 27 percent of overdose cases reported in the U.S. are associated with opioid use, the NDCP reported. But that figure may be understated due to the fact that 25 percent of death certificates issued in those cases do not specify that opiods were a direct cause of death. Usually investigators report that there was a “fatal drug overdose.”
But Dr. Hertz said that the FDA took extra measures for children’s safety. In order to take the drug, children must prove a high tolerance to it by being able to take 20 milligrams for five straight days.
“We are always concerned about the safety of our children, particularly when they are ill […],”
Dr. Hertz added.
Image Source: Wkyufm.org
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