With the steady increase in tragic drug overdose deaths, the Food and Drug Administration decided to take matters into their own hands. According to the ABC news website yesterday, the FDA announced an order of stronger warning labels on prescription painkillers like OxyContin, in their latest attempt to reduce overdose deaths.
The report says that these label changes are designed to remind doctors and patients about the fatal risks of misusing and abusing long-acting opioid pain relievers, which includes forms of oxycodone, morphine and other narcotic medications. The new labels will describe the medications as being only used for “pain severe enough to require daily, around-the-clock” treatment that cannot be managed with alternatives such as over-the-counter medications or immediate-release opioids. The previous labels recommended the medications for “moderate to severe pain.”
Tuesday’s action affects about 20 prescription products, including Purdue Pharma’s OxyContin, Johnson & Johnson’s Duragesic patch and Pfizer’s Embeda. Hopefully, these new warnings will reduce the amount of abuses and deaths amongst these drugs.
“These labeling changes describe more clearly the risks and safety concerns associated with ‘extended release and long-acting’ opioids and will encourage better, more appropriate, prescribing, monitoring and patient counseling practices involving these drugs,” the FDA’s Dr. Douglas Throckmorton said in a statement. For more information on this very important story as it develops, visit the ABC local news website http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/health&id=9243669.