The Food and Drug Administration has now approved the limited use of OxyContin for children 11 to 16 years of age who suffer from severe, long-term pain.
OxyContin is a powerful and frequently abused painkiller.
What worries me is that the FDA used its authority to ask manufacturers of drug products to conduct studies to obtain pediatric-specific information. Not surprisingly, the Purdue Pharma of Stamford, Connecticut, which manufactures the drug and conducted the studies, “supported a new pediatric indication for OxyContin in patients 11 to 16 year’s old and provided prescribers with helpful information about the use of OxyContin in pediatric patients.”
Alex, 13 years old, overdosed on the prescription pain medicine Oxycontin:
“We requested the manufacturer of the pain management drug OxyContin perform studies evaluating safety and other important information about oxycodone and OxyContin when used in pediatric patients,” Sharon Hertz, M.D, Director, Division of Anesthesia, Analgesia, and Addiction Products, Office of New Drugs, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research at the FDA, said in a statement.
According to NBC News, OxyContin is a long-release version of oxycodone, an opioid that acts on the brain like heroin and is intended for only the most severe and chronic pain cases. Because oxycodone and other opioids are extremely powerful and highly addictive, they’re very tightly regulated—and very popular with addicts and pill pushers.
OxyContin—time bomb—the fifth estate:
Under the new approval, pediatric patients must already be responding to and be able to tolerate a minimum opioid dose that is equal to at least 20 mg of oxycodone per day before they can be prescribed an equivalent dose of OxyContin. This is because taking a sudden dose of an opioid can lead to an overdose, causing death if the patient hasn’t previously been exposed to the drug type.
“We are always concerned about the safety of our children, particularly when they are ill and require medications, and when they are in pain,” Hertz said. “OxyContin is not intended to be the first opioid drug used in pediatric patients, but the data show that changing from another opioid drug to OxyContin is safe if done properly.”
It will be interesting how people will react to this news. Although it may help with pain, I wonder if this will cause drug problems within the home environment.