FDA Promotes Testing of Abuse-Deterrent Properties For Opiate Drugs
In the course of medical history, opiates have lent considerable value in the treatment of chronic pain. At the same time, it also brings addictive qualities that sometimes present too much risk to the user. Now, prescription medications based on opiates are the most abused drugs in the market, accounting for more deaths each year.To try and combat this ongoing problem, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is promoting efforts within the industry to develop opiate-based drugs with properties to deter painkiller abuse.
According to this FDA release, the federal agency is significantly concerned about the inappropriate use of prescription medications. Initiatives are being considered to try and thwart what has turned into a national epidemic.
The FDA suggests the use of studies to determine whether a specific formula with properties to deter abuse has the same benefits of standard opiate-based medications. The agency will also evaluate labeling claims, determining what will constitute acceptable labeling based on the results of these studies.
Formulations with abuse-deterrent properties target the known routes of abuse. Medication may be formulated in such a way that it can no longer be crushed and used for snorting or dissolved in water to be used through injections.
The challenge in this area is that the science involved is still relatively new, meaning that methods for studying and evaluating current formulations are constantly evolving. The FDA plans to work closely with the industry to ensure a flexible and adaptive approach to the process.
As opioids remain an important element in the management of pain, the instances of abuse are not only high, but climbing in the U.S. Any steps taken to try and deter abuse are likely steps that can save a life.