FDA Restricts Opioid Painkillers to Combat Epidemic of AbuseSeptember 11, 2013 — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has published new guidelines for doctors who prescribe OxyContin (oxycodone) and other highly-addictive, powerful opioid painkillers. The FDA has removed the indication for treatment of moderate pain, and they are now only indicated for 24-hour around-the-clock treatment of severe, chronic pain. They will also require a Boxed Warning about the risk of neonatal withdrawal syndrome (NOWS) in babies born to pregnant women who take opioids to treat chronic pain.

The labeling changes will apply to all extended-release and long-acting narcotic painkillers. The FDA will also require drug companies to conduct new studies to investigate the risks of opioid painkillers.

Over the last decade, prescriptions for long-acting opioid painkillers have skyrocketed, partly due to research generated by drug companies claiming that long-acting opioids are less addictive than short-acting opioids. Doctors began prescribing the drugs to treat everything from back pain to arthritis.

By 2009, over 2 million Americans were addicted to prescription painkillers. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there were 14,800 prescription painkiller deaths in 2008. In 2010, over 12 million people reported using the drugs non-medically, and enough prescription painkillers were sold to medicate every American adult around-the-clock for one month.

In May 2007, the maker of OxyContin was ordered to pay a $700 million fine by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Office of Criminal Investigations, which charged drug-makers with a “conspiracy” to promote, market, and sell the powerful narcotic painkiller using illegal schemes.

OxyContin was originally marketed in the 1990s as less likely to be abused by other opioid painkillers due to its slow-release mechanism over 12 hours. The marketing was successful, and OxyContin quickly became a billion-dollar drug for Purdue Pharma.

However, users quickly learned that chewing the tablet caused the active ingredients to be released all at once, leading to a quick and powerfully addictive high. As the popularity of OxyContin grew, so did an epidemic of prescription pain medication overdoses and addictions, especially among teenagers and young adults.

Need a Texas OxyContin Lawyer?

Collen A. Clark is a true advocate for his clients and is passionate about helping Texans that have been injured or wronged.

Collen’s amazing success in the courtroom and well known dedication to his clients has earned him the recognition of his peers as one of The Top Trial Lawyers in Texas.”

The Clark Firm has assembled a team of trial lawyers with more than 100 years experience, participation in over 600 jury trials and $60 million in verdicts and/or settlements. Please use the form below to contact our Texas OxyContin lawyers for a free lawsuit review.