FDA Evaluating Approval of Oxycodone for Children

by AdamS on July 22, 2012

This week, Purdue Pharma, the maker of the prescription painkiller OxyContin confirmed that they are about to start the process of measuring the effects of oxycodone, the primary compound in OxyContin in children.  Over 150 children between the ages of 6 and 17 will be included in the study.  As of right now, the Food and Drug Administration has not approved OxyContin for use in children.  Oxycodone and other opioid drugs are highly addictive and force many individuals to seek private prescription drug addiction treatment centers to eventually get clean of the drugs. Check out https://www.thewatershed.com/resource/private-prescription-drug-addiction-treatment/ for more info on treatment options.

The Study

Purdue Pharma will be testing the children to evaluate the safety of the tablet form of the drug.  The children selected to be tested are all suffering from different types of painful diseases and injuries such as cancer or post-operative pain, as well as severe burns and acute pains.  The study will try to determine whether the drug produces any significantly different reactions in children than it does in adults.  Purdue Pharma’s hope is apparently not that the drug gets approved by the FDA for use in children, but rather to ensure that children aren’t being denied the therapy the drug can offer.

Potential Drawbacks

The problems associated with oxycodone use are that it can be very dangerous and also intensely addicting.  Opioid drugs, including OxyContin are derived from the Asian opium poppy plant which is the same plant that is used to make heroin.  Doctor prescribed opioid drugs produce the same sensations that shooting up a syringe full of heroin would.  These opioids have a negative impact on the body’s central nervous system, slowing heart rate and making respiration more difficult.  This effect can be exacerbated by taking too large of a dose or mixing the drug with other dangerous substances including alcohol.

Children Becoming Addicts

Oxycodone, the active ingredient in OxyContin, binds to the pain receptors of the brain and blocks the sensation of pain from the patient.  However, the body becomes dependent on the chemical and builds a tolerance.  That means that when the individual tries to stop taking the drug, their body experiences withdrawals.  Children are especially susceptible to addiction because they don’t understand the dangers of the drug.  It can be very hard to get children off of addicting substances.  If they do become addicted, they will have difficulties as adults finding or keeping a job or even getting through high school because of how much the drug will control their lives.

Any child should be very closely and carefully monitored if they are prescribed oxycodone because of how dangerous the drug can be.  In the last year, doctors have written over 5.6 million prescriptions for OxyContin.  If the FDA approves its use in pediatrics, that number would increase drastically.  Purdue Pharma would stand to make a windfall if it were to be approved, but they could be putting a lot of children in unnecessary danger.  Children should not have to go to private prescription drug addiction treatment centers because a few pharmaceutical companies want to make extra money.  Check out https://www.thewatershed.com/treatment/resources/oxycodone-effects-and-addiction-treatment/ for more information on oxycodone.

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