Activist Petition Asks FDA To Remove High-Dose Opioids From The Market

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Activist Petition Asks FDA To Remove High-Dose Opioids From The Market – Includes Oxycodone

Recently, a group of anti-opioid activists filed a petition with the Food and Drug Administration, requesting that the FDA pull most high-dose opioid painkillers from the drug market.

The petition targets opioid medication that exceeds a dose of 90mg morphine equivalent units per day. This is the amount that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has set as the highest recommended dose for doctors to give their patients.

If this limit were adopted by the FDA, it would remove all 80mg OxyContin pills from the market, in addition to several other high-dose painillers. One OxyContin tablet is equivalent to 160 morphine equivalent units.

The petition mentioned another example – oxycodone immediate release 30mg tablets. If these are taken four times per day, as usually prescribed, that’s an 180 morphine equivalent units. The petition also contends that high-dose opioids increase the risk of addiction and overdose, and are particularly harmful to children.

From the Petition:

“Removing UHDU (ultra-high dosage unit) orally-administered opioids from the market will result in patients having to swallow more tablets or capsules. But this is unlikely to result in a significant inconvenience or hardship for patients.”

While the petition acknowledged that opioids may be appropriate for some patients, the authors stated that “the benefits of prescribing high doses may outweigh the risks when treating severe pain from a life-limiting illness.”

Detractors

Some opponents of the petition believe that inundating the market with lower-dose painkillers would not make patients any safer. They contend that reducing the potency of these drugs would result in patients needing more pain relief and being prescribed more pills, a fact that would lead to more drugs stored in medicine cabinets, stolen, or diverted.

As of this writing, no comment has been yet made by the FDA on the matter of the petition.

~ G. Natalee Serrels, M.A. Psychology

References

http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2017/images/08/31/citizen.petition.uhdu.opioids.8.30.17.final.pdf

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