The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a statement demanding the removal of the Opana ER opioid from the market.
Five years ago Endo Pharmaceuticals reworked its Opana ER painkiller to make it “uncrushable” in the hopes of stopping people from snorting tablets in powder form. The goal to crack down on addiction backfired when people began injecting it instead. This contributed to the biggest-ever outbreak of HIV in a small-town in Indiana.
In early 2017 an FDA advisory committee of doctors and researchers voted 18-8 that the risks of Opana ER outweighed the benefits.
“We are facing an opioid epidemic – a public health crisis, and we must take all necessary steps to reduce the scope of opioid misuse and abuse,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D in the statement.
“We will continue to take regulatory steps when we see situations where an opioid product’s risks outweigh its benefits, not only for its intended patient population but also in regard to its potential for misuse and abuse.”
The opioid epidemic spreading across the country has tightened its grip in recent years. Per the CDC’s data 250 million opioid prescriptions were written in 2013- that’s one for every American adult.
An opioid treatment program is in the early stages here in Kitsap County, as the area has also witnessed a drastic rise in opioid addiction. Data from the Kitsap Public Health District and the state Department of Health shows the number of accidental opioid-related deaths in the county increased from 1 in 2010 to 10 in 2015.
The Salish Behavioral Health Organization is currently seeking proposals for two planned clinics to provide medication-assisted treatment. The program will be funded by Medicaid.
With drugs like Opana ER packing twice the potency as OxyContin, now is the time to turn to other methods of combating this ever-escalating public health issue.
Numerous medical centers and emergency rooms are shunning the addictive drug in favor of acupuncture. Two ERs in Minnesota have experienced success with removing opioid therapies and replacing them with acupuncture, a less invasive, side effect-free and more affordable alternative. MDs across the nation – one at the University of Michigan and another in Chicago are but two examples – prescribe acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicines to their patients over opioids.
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