“A reformulation of OxyContin that makes it harder to abuse has curtailed the drug’s illicit use. But some 25 percent of drug abusers entering rehab said they still abused the prescription painkiller despite package labeling that emphasizes its abuse-deterrent properties, new research indicates.
The study, by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, was published March 11 in JAMA Psychiatry.
Surveying almost 11,000 drug users at 150 drug-treatment facilities in 48 states, the researchers found that an abuse-deterrent formulation of the prescription drug OxyContin was successful in getting abusers and addicts to stop using the drug, but only to a point.
“We found that the abuse-deterrent formulation was useful as a first line of defense,” said senior investigator Theodore J. Cicero, PhD, a professor of neuropharmacology in psychiatry. “OxyContin abuse in people seeking treatment declined, but that decline slowed after a while. And during that same time period, heroin use increased dramatically.”
Source: JAMA Psychiatry press release available at Newswise.com – March 10, 2015