A new version of the painkiller OxyContin, designed to be harder to abuse, will be evaluated Monday by a U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory panel to determine if the reformulated version should be allowed on the market before long-term studies determine if it actually reduces abuse.
The new version has a plastic-like coating that makes it harder to crush and turns it into a gooey mess if someone tries to inject it, according to drug maker Purdue Pharma LP, the Associated Press reported.
After OxyContin was introduced in 1996, abusers quickly found they could get a heroin-like high if they snorted or injected crushed tablets.
In a letter to the advisory panel, Dr. Bob Rappaport, the FDA's chief of painkilling drugs, wrote that "there is no perfect formulation that can resist all forms of tampering." If approved, the label on the new version of OxyContin "would have to be carefully crafted so as to avoid the publication of a road map describing how to defeat these changes," he said.
An abuse-resistant gelatin-like form of the drug is being developed by two other companies, Pain Therapeutics Inc. and King Pharmaceuticals, the AP reported.