In order to prevent prescription drug abuse, doctors and public health experts have asked the Food and Drug Administration to change prescription guidelines for opioids. These experts hope the requested changes will prevent prescription drug abuse.
Thirty –seven doctors, health officials, and research scientists signed a petition asking the FDA to prohibit the use of opioid medications for moderate pain. In addition to this request, they asked the FDA to add a maximum daily dose and only allow patients to take opioids for 90 days unless being treated for cancer pain.
This label change would prevent drug companies from promoting opioids for non-approved uses; however, the change would not limit how doctors prescribe opioids. Many officials and doctors are concerned about how drug companies are marketing opioids for the treatment of chronic pain.
Dr. Andrew Kolodny, Chair of the Psychiatry Department at Maimonides Medical Center in New York believes opioids should only be prescribed for acute pain cases, because opioids are highly addictive. “We don’t think drug companies should be allowed to advertise these drugs as safe and effective for long-term pain, if we know very well that they’re not,” he said.
Kolodny is the president of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing.
Purdue Pharma, makers of oxycontin, released the following statement regarding this issue: “The FDA, its advisory committees, and numerous medical experts maintain that the current indications for long-acting opioids are appropriate. We agree with the FDA that prescribing information for any medication should be subject to ongoing review and modification to the extent that compelling medical evidence emerges.”