Do Abuse-Deterrent Opioids Really Prevent Abuse?
A few years ago, the Food and Drug Administration called on drug manufacturers to begin developing new abuse-deterrent opioids to increase the safety of narcotics. As a result, drug companies put hundreds of millions of dollars into making new abuse-deterrent formulas, which make the medications harder to crush, chew, inject, or snort.
But do these abuse-deterrent drugs really work to prevent abuse? Probably not much, according to a new report released by the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER). ICER is a non-profit company that recommends medications that should be covered by insurance and how much they should cost.
The document, called the Draft Evidence Report, questioned the effectiveness of abuse-deterrent opioids, and awarded them just a “C+” grade regarding their ability to prevent abuse, calling the net health benefit “comparable or better.”
Furthermore, ICER offered a mixed review of OxyContin, stating that since the new formula was released, yes, there was a decline in OxyContin abuse. However, the abuse rate of other prescription opioids increased, in addition to the use of heroin. Moreover, that “reformulated OxyContin may have limited impact on changing overall abuse patterns.”
Purdue Pharma, the makers of OxyContin, didn’t appreciate ICER’S analysis, stating that the company “ICER missed the opportunity to fairly evaluate the impact of these innovative technologies…as an important component of addressing the opioid crisis.”
ICER posits that the average yearly cost of abuse-deterrent opioids is about $4,234 – nearly twice the cost of a non-abuse-deterrent opioid. Moreover, if all opioids were made to be abuse-deterrent, the addiction cost to patients and insurers would equal $645 million in 5 years.
Survey Reveals That Addicts Are Still Abusing Abuse-Deterrent Opioids
Another new report from national drug abuse tracking system RADARS appears to back up ICER’S contention that abuse-deterrent opioids are not making a big enough impact on drug abuse. In a survey of more than 1,700 addicts about to enter treatment this year, it was revealed that abuse-deterrent narcotics were still being chewed, snorted, and injected, but at “slightly lower” rates than other opioids.
From the report:
“The majority of individuals who abused an ER (extended-release) opioid abused an ADF opioid (58.6%), but the proportion of respondents who reported abuse via tampering was slightly lower for ADF opioids than ER opioids as a whole.”
~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology