Opana ER Maker to Stop Marketing Drug as Crush-Resistant Under NY Settlement

The maker of the long-acting painkiller Opana ER has agreed to stop marketing the drug as crush-resistant, under a settlement with New York State. The company also agreed to accurately describe the risk of addiction to the drug, Reuters reports.

Under the agreement with New York State, Endo Health Solutions and Endo Pharmaceuticals will also pay a $200,000 penalty, according to New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman. He said the company’s own studies found Opana ER could be crushed and ground. “This may have bolstered Opana ER sales, but provided a false sense of security to health care providers and their patients,” according to a statement by Schneiderman’s office.

The Attorney General also found that Endo improperly instructed its sales representatives to “diminish and distort risks associated with Opana ER, including serious dangers involving addiction,” Schneiderman’s office stated.

Full story of Opana ER and marketing at drugfree.org

Study Urges Caution in Giving Some Patients Opioids Before Knee Surgery

A new study suggests that in some patients undergoing a total knee replacement, taking opioid painkillers before the operation may increase the risk of being on opioids much longer afterwards. The drugs may also increase the risk of complications after surgery,Medscape reports.

Total knee replacement, or total knee arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure in which parts of the knee joint are replaced with artificial parts.

“Narcotic use can be dangerous. We need to understand how much to give and why we’re giving it,” lead researcher Robert Westermann, MD of the Department of Orthopedics at the University of Iowa said at the recent American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons 2016 Annual Meeting. He added that initiatives that encourage orthopedic surgeons to decrease the use of opioids are needed.

Full story of patients taking opioids before knee surgery at drugfree.org

Federal Effort to Curb Painkiller Prescribing Faces Opposition

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) face stiff opposition to its effort to reduce prescribing of opioid painkillers, the Associated Press reports. Critics of new prescribing guidelines include drug manufacturers, industry-funded groups and some public health officials.

The guidelines, which were originally scheduled to be released this month, are designed to reverse the increase in deadly overdoses of opioid painkillers such as Vicodin, OxyContin and Percocet. They are not binding.

Opponents of the guidelines say they have been largely written behind closed doors, the AP notes. Officials from the Food and Drug Administration and other health agencies called the guidelines “shortsighted,” relying on “low-quality evidence.” The officials said they plan to file a formal complaint.

Full story of curbing painkiller prescriptions at drugfree.org

Teen Use of Prescription Painkillers, Cigarettes, Alcohol Declines

A new report finds the rate of prescription painkiller use among American teenagers is declining. The 2015 Monitoring the Future survey finds the rate of teen use of cigarettes, alcohol and synthetic marijuana is also decreasing, The New York Times reports.

The percentage of high school seniors who said they smoked marijuana every day (6 percent) was higher than those who smoked regular cigarettes daily (5.5 percent, down from 6.7 percent last year). This is the first time in the survey’s 41-year history that more seniors said they smoked marijuana than regular cigarettes, the article notes.

The survey found 24 percent of all students said they smoked marijuana in the past year, about the same rate as a decade ago. However the rate of students who view daily marijuana use as harmful dropped from 58 percent in 2005 to 32 percent this year.

Full story of teen use of painkillers, cigarettes and alcohol declining at drugfree.org

More Than Half of Americans Say They Have Personal Connection to Painkiller Abuse

A new poll finds that 56 percent of Americans say they or someone they know has abused, been addicted to or died from prescription painkillers. Almost half say they personally know someone who has taken a prescription painkiller that was not prescribed to them.

The Kaiser Family Foundation poll found 39 percent of Americans say they know someone who has been addicted to prescription painkillers, including 2 percent who say they personally have been addicted, and 25 percent who say a close friend or family member has been addicted.

The poll found 16 percent say they know someone who has died from a prescription painkiller overdose, including 9 percent who said the person was a family member or close friend.

Full story of Americans personal connection to painkiller abuse at drugfree.org