Lifestyle & Belief

Oxycontin resistant to abuse will be only type available in US


Oxycontin pills are seen in this photo taken on May 13, 2007. OxyContin is an opioid analgesic used to treat intense, severe pain, so people who use it run the risk of addiction.



The generic form of Oxycontin will no longer be welcome in the US, decided health regulators on Tuesday — to be replaced by a form of the drug that's considerably harder to abuse.

The Food and Drug Administration will no longer approve new applications to produce a generic forms of the drug, wrote the Los Angeles Times, in an effort to crack down on wide-spread abuse of the well known painkiller.

Read more from GlobalPost: Oxycontin users switch to heroin after drug is redesigned

It's set to be replaced by a 2010 formulation of the drug that's hard to break and turns into a jelly-like substance in water, reducing its utility as a recreational drug.

The FDA also approved a label for the new drug that would explicitly point out that it's harder to crush for purposes of inhalation or injection, hopefully putting off potential abusers.

Further, discouraging the production of generics is likely to keep prices for the potent pain-reliever high, as only the official Purdue Pharma versions will be permitted for sale in the US, notes the New York Times.

Purdue's exclusive patent rights to the drug were set out to run out in the near future, but they'll be able to retain full control over the abuse-resistant version for a few years more, writes the Los Angeles Times — making the new ruling a particular boon for the drug manufacturer.

"Purdue is gratified that the FDA has determined that the original OxyContin extended release tablets were withdrawn from sale for reasons of safety or effectiveness," said the company in a statement, according to Reuters.

A study released last year found that drug abusers put off by the new reformulation often switched from OxyContin to even more powerful opiods, including heroin.