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Methadone: A Flicker Of Light In The Dark

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 Opioid Abuse Targeted by the FDA

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PostSubject: Opioid Abuse Targeted by the FDA   Wed May 11, 2011 12:52 pm

Opioid Abuse Targeted by the FDA

Opioid abuse is the focus for health officials who are aiming to reduce the misuse of the pain killers.

The White House announced a new Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) to reduce prescription drug abuse in the U.S. Some of the drugs under fire are OxyContin, morphine and methadone.

"This new REMS will provide tools to doctors and other prescribers for appropriate pain management to reduce risks and at the same time preserve access for patients and appropriate management of pain for those suffering from moderate to severe pain," Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, told HealthDay.

More than 23 million prescriptions are given each year for extended-release opioids. About 33 million Americans over the age of 12 use the drugs for non-prescription reasons, according to the FDA.

"This is a large and growing problem and, despite a number of efforts over the years, it continues to grow," Woodcock told HealthDay. "It's clear we have a huge problem on our hands."

The strategy will affect 16 companies and focus on patient, provider, and community organizations to provide resources and tools supporting the responsible prescribing and safe use of prescription pain treatments.

The FDA program will focus on improving literature, training [color:da33=blue !important][color:da33=blue !important]medical staff to identify patients that may be addicted and work on the proper storage as well as disposal of the drugs. Companies who manufacture drugs have 120 days to draft a plan that works within FDA guidelines.

"In the meantime, [color:da33=blue !important][color:da33=blue !important]doctors should be prescribing opioids as they have been doing and we hope they thoroughly discuss risks and benefits with their patients," Woodcock said. "People taking opioids should continue to take them as directed and, if they have concerns, should consult a [color:da33=blue !important][color:da33=blue !important]health-care professional."

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