New safety measures are being put into place by the FDA in order to minimize or even eliminate the risk of prescription drug abuse for narcotic pain medications, but will the results live up to expectations? The new FDA requirement calls for a revised label with new warnings on all narcotic pain medications that are extended release or long acting. The new warnings cover the risk of narcotic withdrawal syndrome in newborn infants when the mother uses these drugs during pregnancy. Another warning on the new label shows that these prescription drugs are limited to those who need pain medication on a continuous basis. Much of the prescription drug abuse that occurs involves narcotic pain medications that create a sense of euphoria or high.
The prescription drugs that are covered under the new warning label requirements include those derived from morphine or oxycodone, and they include Oxycontin, MS Contin, Embeda, Opana Er, and Palladone. The new warnings will be prominently displayed in a black box on the label that is highly visible. Inappropriate opioid use and prescription drug abuse with this class of medications is high, and the move by the FDA is intended to control the risks involved for patients and those who engage in substance abuse. Many individuals end up in the Emergency Room or morgue because of accidental overdose, and older individuals are at great risk because their ability to eliminate these drugs from the body may be compromised. It is too soon to tell if the new FDA warnings and safety labels will be effective. Do you think that these warnings will stop prescription drug abuse? Why or why not?