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FDA Approves ‘Hard to Abuse’ Painkiller

Update Date: Jul 24, 2014 11:00 AM EDT

The U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a new painkiller drug that is supposed to be harder to abuse. The combination pain pill is manufactured by the same company that made OxyContin, which was under fire for being a strong opioid that could be easily abused.

The latest drug, Purdue Pharma's Targiniq ER is an extended release pill that contains both oxycodone and naloxone. Oxycodone is the main active ingredient in OxyContin. According to the researchers, when users attempt to abuse Targiniq ER by crushing it into powder and snorting or injecting it, naloxone's effects will block out the high effects from the oxycodone. Naloxone can also reverse the effects of many opioids, morphine, methadone, codeine and more. The FDA stated that the latest drug can still be abused via the simple swallowing method. If the pill is not crushed, naloxone's effects will be not activated.

''The FDA is committed to combatting the misuse and abuse of all opioids, and the development of opioids that are harder to abuse is needed in order to help address the public health crisis of prescription drug abuse in the U.S.,'' said FDA's Dr. Sharon Hertz reported by the Boston.

The FDA added, according to the Los Angeles Times, that the drug is expected to "deter, but not totally prevent" prescription drug abuse.

Deaths tied to prescription drug abuse have increased by four times since 1990. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that in 2010, there were an estimated 16,500 deaths caused by these pills. This ongoing trend has placed the FDA under pressure to find a solution. Some critics believe that adding more pills is not the answer.

"If we really want to turn this epidemic around, the most important thing is to stop creating new cases of addiction," Dr. Andrew Kolodny, president of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing, said. "Coming up with new gimmicks isn't going to help."

Targiniq ER will be available for people suffering from round-the-clock pain who do not respond to other pain medications. The FDA has instructed Purdue Pharma to carry out long-term follow-up studies in order to monitor the drug's rates of abuse, addiction, overdose and deaths. These requirements are standard for any extended release opioid drugs that get approved within the U.S.

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