The US Food and Drug Administration has approved extended-release oxycodone (Xtampza) as another option for controlling chronic pain.
The FDA gave the drug tentative approval at the end of 2015, but the agency gave extended-release oxycodone the official green light earlier this week. The pill, known as Xtampza ER, comes in the form of capsules and is intended to be taken twice-daily for patients who deal with constant or severe chronic pain.
The extended-release formula is designed in such a way that abusers are unable to get a quick high off the drug. The drug maintains the extended-release property which helps stop people from crushing, chewing or manipulating the pill to get a concentrated effect. Dr. Jeffery Judin, Director of Pain Management and Palliative Care at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, said the drug’s design should help prevent abuse.
“Abuse-deterrent opioids are critical component to fighting the widespread national epidemic of prescription opioid abuse,” said Dr. Gudin.
The medication comes in 10 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg, 30 mg and 40 mg strength, and is expected to be launched for patient use in the United states by the middle of 2016. Side effects of the drug includes gastrointestinal distress, nausea, headache, sleepiness and stomach pain.
This drug may eventually be a viable option for someone who deals with mild to moderate chronic pain throughout the day. The extended-release formula is great because it helps prevent opioid abuse, and it can provide long lasting relief. That said, when any new drug hits the market, there needs to be careful observation to understand how it is best managed and used to control symptoms. Extended-release pills also tend to be more expensive than regular drugs and sometimes aren’t covered by insurance. We’ll keep our eye on this drug and the reports surrounding it in the coming months.