Managing Chronic Pain: Practical Considerations to Improve Treatment Outcomes - Episode 12

Newer Opioid Formulations Deter Drug Abuse

Continuing their discussion on how to control the use of opioid medications and prevent drug abuse, the panelists review newer opioid formulations, one example of which is a controlled-release oral form of oxycodone.

“In its original form, you could crush this medicine and turn it into pure immediate release, (because) there’s kind of a biphasic release which allowed for a significant amount of the medicine — approximately 38% — being released differently, earlier than others,” Charles Argoff, MD, notes. In contrast, the new oxycodone formulation “has not only physical properties to reduce its abuse potential, but also has pharmacokinetic properties that makes it very, very difficult for people who are used to that 38% difference,” Argoff explains.

Although the controlled-release version of oxycodone is harder to crush, Argoff admits people will still find a way to abuse it.

“No matter what deterrent features are put into the medication, somebody will find a way to defeat it,” Argoff relents, though he notes the physical properties of the new formulation “make it much less likely to be defeated.”

The panelists also discuss the importance of training primary care providers on appropriate opioid prescription writing, since they often don’t know what warning signs to look for when matching potential drug abusers to prescription painkillers.