The FDA Wants Opana Pulled from the Market
Amidst the opiate crisis, there are some good news and good decisions that come down the line every so often. Lately, it’s been an uphill battle in regards to fighting the drug problem in this country. It seems every time things start to move in the right direction, a new drug comes along and derails all the progress that’s been made. It’s very rare you see the FDA step in and request a specific drug to be pulled from the market and have its sales ceased, since it’s the FDA who approves the use of the drugs in the first place. So, for the FDA to come in and request Opana be pulled from the market, that drug has got to be bad.
Opana is Dilaudid’s “big brother.” It’s a powerful synthetic opiate usually prescribed for severe pain and terminal illness. It’s chemical name is Oxymorphone as opposed to Dilaudid’s chemical name, which is Hydromorphone. Opana is much, much stronger than Dilaudid, and is highly addictive. It has already been the cause of many overdoses and deaths throughout the country. Typically, addicts will crush and snort the pill or shoot it with needles. When addicts try to stop using Opana, the withdrawals are severe and many don’t attain sobriety without seeking outside help.
According to CNN, the FDA has demanded that Endo Pharmaceuticals pull Opana off the market. This is actually the first time the FDA has ever asked for an opiate painkiller to be taken off the shelves and its sales stopped. The reason the FDA wants it pulled is because, in their opinion, the drug presents a major public health threat. The drug came out and was approved by the FDA in 2006. Addicts got their hands on the drug and began crushing it up and snorting it to maximize its euphoric effects. In 2012, Endo Pharmaceuticals changed the formulation of the drug, making it harder to crush. Addicts adapted to the change and found ways to shoot the drug instead.
The FDA made the decision to have the drug pulled after reviewing data that showed a major increase in IV use of Opana after its reformulation. Along with the 2015 HIV outbreak that was centered around Opana abuse, the FDA also found a similar outbreak of Hepatitis C.
FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said “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. 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.”
This is a great step in the right direction. Finally, the FDA is stepping up to ease the opiate epidemic, rather than adding to it. Even though the FDA approved Opana initially, we should be thankful they realized their error and did the responsible thing, which is to take the drug off the market. We don’t need another drug to worry about our loved ones overdosing on. This decision will definitely help curb the possibility of future Opana addicts. And as for those who are already hooked on Opana, don’t worry, there is good quality treatment to help you beat your addiction, get clean and have a productive life.