The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently announced that they have approved the usage of OxyContin, a notoriously potent painkiller, for patients younger than ever before. Now, children aged between 11-16 will be able to have OxyContin prescribed to them by a doctor. It is a move that is sure to gain a far amount of controversy for the FDA. OxyContin, though an effective painkiller, is infamous for being highly addictive as a form of oxycodone. However, both the manufacturers of OxyContin and the FDA have gone out of their way to ensure people that steps have been taken to make this as safe a usage as possible for children taking an opioid.
How The Decision Was Made To Allow Children OxyContin Prescriptions
This was not a decision that the FDA came to lightly. The FDA had Purdue Pharma, the manufacturers of OxyContin, conduct a study centered on the effects of opioid use on children. Opioids have not been a drug that has been commonly prescribed by pediatricians, but the study found that pediatric patients being treated for pain are capable of responding to OxyContin much in the same way adults can. Even with that in mind, though, the FDA will still require that doctors examine how the patient responds to, at minimum, a 20 milligram dose of opioid medication for five days.
The FDA is also reassuring concerned parents that the OxyContin prescriptions for children aged 11 through to 16 will be quite limited. OxyContin tends to be prescribed for a pain severity or frequency more common in adults than in children. As such, the examples thrown out as reasons to prescribe OxyContin for pediatric patients were extremes such as trauma, spinal surgery, or surgery to correct birth defects. And even then, OxyContin remains more of a possible option than a first choice.
Purdue Has Also Worked to Make OxyContin Safer
In the past few years, Purdue Pharma has made strides in working to combat addictive use of OxyContin. For example, in 2010 OxyContin was reformulated so that it could no longer be injected or crushed and snorted. With OxyContin becoming harder to abuse, intense studies being done, and regulations being set, the FDA decided that it was officially safe to allow for children with severe pain.