In August of 2015, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced its decision to grant OxyContin prescriptions for children aged between 11-16.
Naturally there were parents and consumers who believed this to be an odd decision and one that could lead to a whole dangerous world for the most vulnerable of people. Although critics such as Hillary Clinton called the decision “absolutely incomprehensible,” top FDA officials have remained firm on the controversial decision and so do many parents of children suffering from cancer or other painful diseases.
A Quick Background On OxyContin
In the words of NBC News, OxyContin is “a long-release version of oxycodone, an opioid that acts on the brain like heroin and is intended for only the most severe and chronic pain cases.”
OxyContin has some shady background. Many may recall 2007 when the executives of Stamford company based in Connecticut Purdue Pharma had to pay $600 million in fines due to “[misleading] regulators, doctors and patients about the drug's risk of addiction and its potential to be abused.”
In the mid-1990s, Purdue Pharma, the company that makes and sells OxyContin started promoting buying oxycontin online as being more secure and less dependent in comparison to Percocet or Vicodin. Because OyxContin can be described as a slow-releasing, or “long-acting” narcotic, relieving pain for as long as twelve hours Purdue Pharma was able to mislead the public about how safe the drug is. Based on this false assumption, Purdue Pharma marketed the drug with a lot of force and was able to take it over one billion dollars of annual revenue within just a few years.
Will OxyContin Now Be Available To Just Any Kid?
The FDA's recent decision about OxyContin do not in any way advocating an opioid-free-for-all for your teens and preteens. The FDA is simply stating that, under the right circumstances with the right patients and with the appropriate motives, OxyContin can be a feasible and secure option to relieve pain.
Doctor. Kathleen A. Neville is a pediatric oncologist from Arkansas Children's Hospital, told The New York Times, “Just because OxyContin has been abused or prescribed inappropriately doesn't mean we should deprive the children who need the drug.”
She also said “[It is] our obligation to have the best level of evidence for its use in children.”
Addressing 7 Concerns About OxyContin For Kids
The sad reality (no no pun meant) is that many adolescents suffer from severe chronic pain. The reasons for this vary however suffice it to say that these conditions are ones we don't want to see on the most courageous adults among us.
Following the Purdue Pharma fiasco, the FDA has gone to extraordinary measures to address the numerous issues that have been raised concerning the use of OxyContin by children. Here are the top 7:
1. Is It Safe Enough?
The Dr. Sharon Hertz, director of the Division of Anesthesia, Analgesia, and Addiction Products for the FDA she stated in an FDA online report that the agency's decision has not been haphazardly made.
Purdue Pharma raked in billions of dollars in OxyContin sales from 1999 to 2001 based due to false claims, and the FDA took action by tightening its regulations to ensure it will not happen again. The doctor. Hertz said that under the Best Pharmaceuticals for Children Act (BPCA) of 2002 the FDA issued the Pediatric Written Request to the manufacturers of OxyContin to conduct a study on the effects of oxycodone (the main component) as well as OxyContin in children.
BPCA is a law that was enacted to safeguard children and offers incentives to drug companies who are willing to spend the time to research treatments for children. Since the passage of the BPCA Medical researchers have discovered that for a specific kind of pediatric patient OxyContin can be used safely.
2. Who Is Eligible For Treatment?
In the latest FDA rules, the kind of child to be eligible for the OxyContin treatment is extremely specific:
A pediatric patient who is eligible to require regular, continuous pain management.
He or she has taken an opioid painkiller with not less than 20 milligrams oxycodone every day for at least 5 consecutive days.
If the current long-term treatment for pain is no longer effective and the child is not getting enough relief, he or she could be considered for a similar dosage of OxyContin. Previous treatment may be a clue to how fit enough to take the brand new medication.
The child should also require extended-release opioids, which are given every 12 hours as opposed to immediate-release oxycodone, which is administered at intervals of 4 to 6 hours.
3. How Can Children Take The Drug Safely?
The simplest answer is dose. Even the most mild drugs can prove fatal when the proper dosage isn't taken into account. The prescriptions will not only require monitoring by the doctor who is writing them, but the usage of them must be supervised by adult responsible adults, perhaps the parents of children so that the correct dosage is administered at the right time(s).
4. Which Ailments Are Classified As Severe Enough For An OxyContin Prescription?
All pains are not created in the same way. There is a myriad of painkillers that help with a wide variety of pain. There are various conditions that require the power of a drug such as buy oxycontin online to aid patients of all ages to manage intense pain that they experience every day.
The conditions that qualify to be considered for OxyContin treatment include:
Indirectly related to some conditions, such as cancer, or sickle-cell anemia.
The procedure requires long-term pain management or correction of the birth defect or spinal fusion surgery
5. How Can Families Avoid The Misuse Or Abuse Of OxyContin?
As stated previously, OxyContin is highly addictive. Users of the drug typically smash the tablets or dissolve them to administer them intravenously.
Around the year 2011, Purdue Pharma reformulated OxyContin to make it more resistant to crushing to serve these purposes. With the new formulation, the addition of water causes the drug transforms into an “gelatinous goop” that cannot be altered in the same way as in the past.
One addict who tried his old tricks using the new formula “Purdue took the lead. I knew that oxy(codone) was there but I couldn't get into the safety.”
The new formula developed by Purdue for OxyContin does not completely stop abuse however it will make the process more difficult for those who would like to abuse.
6. What Other Precautions Should Be Taken?
Doctors should pay consideration to any other medications that form included in their child's daily routine. If there are any drugs that can slow the absorption of OxyContin, or boost the sedative effect, it is the best choice for you.
If a physician determines that the patient shouldn't longer be taking OxyContin, the process of weaning off the drug must be carried out slowly and carefully. Parents should speak with their doctor prior to getting their child off of this drug.
If parents have additional concerns, they should seek advice from an expert in health care. Anyone who is a young, qualified user of OxyContin must have a caring team around them made up of professionals who have experience in treating opioids and pediatric treatment. Parents as well as the patient or herself ought to not be afraid to make use of the team for support.
7. What Are The Stats On Adolescent Opioid Addiction?
As per research conducted by the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) The ASAM reports that adolescents are likely to share their unwanted pain medication with friends in a manner that leaves both parties unaware of how risky non-medical opioid usage could be. In 2014, of the 467,000 adolescents who were non-medical users of pain relief medications 168,000 had a dependency on prescription painkillers.
Medical professionals and caregivers are required to inform and safeguard the young in these areas, especially due to the fact that “most adolescents who misuse prescription pain relievers are given them for free by a friend or relative,” according to ASAM.
The Final Verdict
In the end, it's crucial to be aware that the FDA's approval for OxyContin for children ranging from 11-16 was not an easy decision. The report of Dr. Hertz's report to the FDA she said, “This was a team effort involving the combined expertise from several fields: There were physicians, clinical pharmacologists, statisticians, ethicists and, of course, pediatricians and opioid experts.”
If your child might be suitable to receive OxyContin medication, make sure to engage in these tough discussions with your doctor. After that, take what you believe is the best choice for your child's benefit.