Reformulated OxyContin Associated with Reduction in Abuse, Addiction, and Opioid Poisoning

MARCH 23, 2015
Caitlyn Fitzpatrick
The number of abuse, addiction, and opioid poisoning diagnoses has decreased since the introduction of reformulated OxyContin, according to a study presented at the American Academy of Pain Medicine’s 31st Annual Meeting.

Purdue Pharma’s OxyContin (oxycodone HCI extended-release tablets) was reformulated with physicochemical properties in order to make it more difficult to manipulate the substance. The drug with abuse-deterrent characteristics was first approved by the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in 1995. It was approved again in April 2010, the original product ceased, and the new oxycodone was shipped in August 2010.

The research analysis was gathered from MarketScan commercially-insured individual claims to find the impact that the reformulated OxyContin had on the number of diagnoses.

The study, presented in National Harbor, MD from March 19 to 22, revealed the following results about opioid abuse, addiction, and poisoning cases with the reformulated OxyContin:
  • 29% reduction when OxyContin was the only opioid used
  • 10% reduction when OxyContin and other opioids were used
  • 12% reduction overall among those prescribed OxyContin
Results from those with comparator opioids, instead of OxyContin alone, show:
  • 29% increase for ER oxymorphone
  • 8% increase for ER morphine
  • 15% increase for IR single-entity oxycodone
  • 10% increase for IR hydromorphone
The study came to the conclusion that, for those who used multiple opioids in addition to OxyContin, there was not a significant difference in reduction rate of other opioids when compared to the OxyContin figures in the first bulleted list.

Other surveillance programs, including information from poison control centers and surveys from people in substance abuse treatment, have similar reports with the study’s findings.

While the reformulated OxyContin makes misuse more difficult, abuse of the drug is still possible by injection, intranasal, and oral methods.

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