Is OxyContin Addictive?

Oxycontin_illustrationRush Limbaugh a 30 pill a day OxyContin eater was devastated to learn today that OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma LP announced it has cut its sales force in half and will stop promoting opioids to physicians, following widespread criticism of the ways that drugmakers market addictive painkillers. So whats a drug addictive talk show host to do?

Oxycodone and OxyContin are a semisynthetic opioid synthesized from thebaine, an opioid alkaloid found in the Persian poppy, and one of the many alkaloids found in the opium poppy.

The only difference between Oxycodone and Oxycontin is, Oxycontin is time-released. It distributes its oxycodone slowly over a period of 12 hours, as long as the pill is not cut up or smashed.

The drugmaker said it will inform doctors on Monday that its sales representatives will no longer visit physician offices to discuss its opioid products. It will now have about 200 sales representatives, Purdue said.

“We have restructured and significantly reduced our commercial operation and will no longer be promoting opioids to prescribers,” the Stamford, Connecticut-based company said in a statement.

Doctors with opioid-related questions will be directed to its medical affairs department. Its sales representatives will now focus on Symproic, a drug for treating opioid-induced constipation, and other potential non-opioid products, Purdue said.

The key here is the manufacture will no longer actively or aggressively promote their cash cow drug. They don’t have to the damage and addiction is already present.  Almost everyone who suffers with cronic pain is at the very least aware of OxyContin. So Rush no more free samples from Doctor Feelgood.

Opioids were involved in more than 42,000 overdose deaths in 2016, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

thIs OxyContin addictive?

Yes, OxyContin is extremly addictive. In fact, the addiction liability of OxyContin is about the same or more than morphine.  And OxyContin addiction stats indicate increasing addiction.  So what’s in OxyContin that makes it so addictive?

Opioid drugs like oxycodone interact with the mu opioid receptors in the body, especially in the brain and spinal cord. When activated, these receptors bring on pain relief by interrupting the communication of nerve pain to the brain. However, the mu opioid receptors can also produce the euphoric state, a state of well-being that people chase when they get high.

Plus, opioids like oxycodone elevate levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain pathways that control the experience of pleasure, so that the pleasure center of the brain gets a big dose of good feeling when you take OxyContin.

For these reasons, the DEA classifies OxyContin as a Schedule II controlled substance. This means that although there is a known medical use for OxyContin, abuse and addiction potential is relatively high. To put it another way, the only opiates more addictive than OxyContin are heroin and other strong pain killers no longer prescribed in the U.S.

Among other opioid producers, Endo International Plc (ENDP.O) agreed in July to pull its Opana ER painkiller after the Food and Drug Administration called for its withdrawal.

Purdue and other drugmakers have been fighting lawsuits by states, counties and cities that have accused them of pushing addictive painkillers through deceptive marketing.

The lawsuits have generally accused Purdue of downplaying OxyContin’s addiction risk and of misleading marketing that overstated the benefits of opioids for treating chronic, rather than short-term, pain.

At least 14 states have sued privately held Purdue. Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall filed a lawsuit on Tuesday accusing Purdue of deceptively marketing prescription opioids.

Purdue is also facing a federal investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Connecticut.

Purdue has denied the allegations in the various lawsuits. It has said its drugs are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and account for only 2 percent of all opioid prescriptions.

Purdue and three executives pleaded guilty in 2007 to federal charges related to the misbranding of OxyContin and agreed to pay $634.5 million to resolve a U.S. Justice Department probe.

That year, Purdue also reached a $19.5-million settlement with 26 states and the District of Columbia. It agreed in 2015 to pay $24 million to resolve a lawsuit by Kentucky.

The current residence of the White House Mr. Trump has drawn criticism for his response to the opioid crisis.

He has yet to declare it a national emergency as he pledged to do in August following a recommendation by a presidential commission. It is unlikely Trump will do so despite his many unfulfilled promises. It would not surprise me based on his twitter if ole agent orange replaced is favorite tic-tacs with handfills of OxyContin these days. I am just guessing.

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