Attorneys general ask FDA to require generic pain pills be made abuse-proof

UTAH – Acting Utah Attorney General Brian Tarbet and 41 other state and territorial attorneys general are asking the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to require manufacturers of generic prescription pain relievers to develop tamper-resistant versions of their products.

Tamper-resistant technology generally seeks to prevent opioids that are designed to time-release over a period of hours from being effectively modified such that a person can receive the full dosage in a pop rather than over a the tablet’s time-release period.  Some ways that people modify these drugs are through chewing, crushing, altering it for injection, or combining it with alcohol.

In a letter sent today to the FDA, the attorneys general state that prescription drug abuse has reached epidemic levels in many states; requiring abuse-deterrent pain killing prescription drugs, opioids, is a commonsense improvement for the fight against this epidemic.

There are various ways that drugs may be made tamper-resistant, Kristina Fiore wrote in an Oct. 28 article for MedPage Today. “… companies have come up with a number of ways to deter that kind of abuse, such as making the tablet turn chunky instead of powdery when crushed, or turning it thick and sudsy when mixed with a liquid and drawn into a syringe.

“Some have even combined their opioids with anti-opioid agents, such as naltrexone, which block opioid receptors in the brain to send abusers into withdrawal rather than getting them high.”

“Prescription drug abuse has been a major issue in the state of Utah and one we believe we can do something about,” Tarbet said. “When more people are dying of drug overdoses than traffic accidents you have to ask what more we can do to save lives through prevention.”

In their letter to FDA Commission Margaret Hamburg, the attorneys general thanked the FDA for their recent efforts to require abuse-deterrent formulations for branded opioid drugs. However, they also urged the FDA to go even further by ensuring that generic opioids have abuse-deterrent properties.

Attorneys general have been combating prescription abuse by sponsoring prescription drug take-back efforts, spearheading legislative and law enforcement initiatives in their respective jurisdictions, and mandating state level prescription drug monitoring programs.

The 42 attorneys general who signed the NAAG letter are from: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Resources

See the full letter here: 20131216 Attorneys General letter to FDA

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Twitter: @JoyceKuzmanic

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.

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5 Comments

  • mary December 17, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    That would be great and all, but people dont escalate to that level out of nowhere. Doctors prescribe opiates like thier going out of style and then all of the sudden stop. Maybe if doctors tapered people off they wouldnt have to try to keep up that dosage to not go through the incredible withdrawls that goes with it. People will find them through other avenues or go to heroine. The doctors give scripts out for ridiculous things and dont care about getting people off in an effective manner. They give it out, then treat thier patients like they are less than human when the doc stops it cold turkey. Maybe we should be focusing on the root of the problem. There are too many people out there suffering needlessly. I know there are always different ways opiate addiction starts but most of the time it is one script that initiates the entire thing.

  • Anna December 17, 2013 at 7:37 pm

    Doctors are the problem not the patients. My Doctors easily write me Loratab prescriptions before they will try Ibuprofen or another pain reliever. Also, I have never had one single Dr. educate me when they write the prescription. They need to at least attempt to tell all patients how easy it is to overdose, become addicted, etc. I made a mistake of taking too much, not realizing the high dose of Acetaminophen I was taking. I will never allow a Dr. to write narcotic pain prescriptions for my kids,

  • Gary December 17, 2013 at 10:43 pm

    Or maybe the medical profession could prescribe only what is necessary and then quit prescribing once the need is gone.

  • meds December 18, 2013 at 8:56 am

    Keep your meds locked up so your kids don’t get into your happy pills.

  • ladybugavenger December 18, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    wow! I never got into the whole pill addiction thing. Pain pills made me sick. I stick with ibuprofen! I had no idea people shot pills up like heroin! I must have seen it on tv but it didn’t register in my noodle (brain). Prescription meds that’s a whole new world I’m glad I didn’t explore cuz I’m sure if I did I would have been hooked.

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