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Thursday, July 24, 2014

FDA Approves Opioid Mixed With Naloxone

What if there were a painkiller that was effective at pain relief, but did not have euphoric traits? A drug like that would have little appeal to opioid abusers and would have great appeal to physicians. On Wednesday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a drug that combines oxycodone and naloxone, according to the Los Angeles Times.

In the wake of the FDA's controversial approval of Zohydro ER it would seem that approving such a drug would be a step in the right direction, but that may not be the case. Purdue Pharma has created a drug called Targiniq ER, combining the highly addictive drug oxycodone with naloxone, a drug which blocks the euphoric effects of opioids. The drug was designed so that if someone crushes the pills, then naloxone will become active, denying the user a high.

“Targiniq ER can still be abused, including when taken orally (by mouth), which is currently the most common way oxycodone is abused,” according to a statement by the FDA. Targiniq is not a total deterrent against abuse but will detract some abusers.

“The FDA is committed to combating the misuse and abuse of all opioids,” Sharon Hertz, Deputy Director of the FDA’s Division of Anesthesia, Analgesia and Addiction Products, said in the statement. “The development of opioids that are harder to abuse is needed in order to help address the public health crisis of prescription drug abuse in the U.S.”

Not everyone in the field thinks that Targiniq is the answer to opioid abuse; some believe that it will give doctors a false sense of safety when prescribing opioid drugs. The President of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing, Dr. Andrew Kolodny, shared his concerns with the newspaper. “If we really want to turn this epidemic around, the most important thing is to stop creating new cases of addiction,” he said. “Coming up with new gimmicks isn’t going to help.”

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