The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has accredited a
latest combination pain pill from the maker of OxyContin that is designed to
discourage abuse by painkiller addicts.
Purdue Pharma's new drug Targiniq ER is an extended release tablet that blends oxycodone — the active ingredient in OxyContin — with the drug naloxone.
FDA regulators accredited the drug for daily, round-the-clock pain that does not react to other medications.
Naloxone is now utilized to reverse the overdose effects of opioids, highly addictive painkilling drugs including morphine, methadone, codeine and others.
The FDA notes that Targiniq can still be abused by simply swallowing the tablets, the most common way of painkiller abuse.
The Administration has been under pressure to combat the national epidemic of prescription opioid abuse.
Deaths related to addictive medications like OxyContin and Vicodin have increased fourfold since 1990 to an estimated 16,500 in 2010, the most recent year for which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports figures.
Doctors prescribe opioids for a wide range of diseases, from post-surgical pain to arthritis and migraines.
Stamford, Connecticut-based Purdue has often been cited by health experts as a key contributor to the over prescribing of opioids.
In 2007, Purdue Pharma and three of its executives paid $634 million and pleaded guilty to charges of providing wrong ideas to the public about the safety and addictiveness of OxyContin.
Since then the pharmaceutical company introduced a harder-to-abuse version of OxyContin that is designed to resist crushing, chewing and dissolving.
Dr. Sharon Hertz of the FDA commented that the Administration is committed to combating the misuse 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.
The FDA is requiring Purdue to carry out long-term follow-up researches tracking rates of abuse, addiction, overdose and death with Targiniq.
Those requirements are benchmark for all extended release opioid drugs approved in the State.