The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) took an unprecedented action last week: it asked a drug maker to take its product off the market.
Opana ER, an opioid painkiller made by Endo Pharmaceuticals, is particularly prone to abuse. The abuse of Opana and drugs like it has led to an opioid epidemic that kills more than 90 Americans a day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Anna Lembke, the program director for Stanford University’s Addiction Medicine Fellowship and the author of “Drug Dealer, MD,” says Opana’s addictive nature may be due to the extended-release formula, which packs more of the active ingredient into one pill. She says the pill’s hard shell isn’t very effective in deterring the drug’s abuse.
“Unfortunately what happened was people who wanted to abuse that pill got very creative, and found a way, nonetheless, to crush it and inject it, and that was what was at the center of the HIV outbreak in Indiana,” Lembke says. “It is for that reason that the FDA is taking these extraordinary measures to now ask Endo Pharmaceutical to remove Opana ER from the market.”
What you’ll hear in this segment:
– Why Opana ER in particular is targeted by opiate abusers
– What this means for those who are using Opana ER correctly
– Whether this FDA action goes far enough
Written by Lila Weatherly.