Researchers at companies that make opioid painkillers are trying to make a “safe” drug that is resistant to abuse, in an effort to combat what the government has called an epidemic of prescription painkiller abuse.
MedPage Today reports that in June the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is expected to make a decision about the painkiller Acurox, which its manufacturer, Pfizer, hopes will be abuse proof. If a person crushes an Acurox pill, it crumbles into chunks instead of becoming a powder. If a person mixes the crushed pill with liquid and draws it into a syringe, it becomes “sudsy,” the article explains. And if someone tries to inhale the crushed pill, an irritant contained in the drug will bother the person’s nose.
The article notes that last year an FDA advisory committee did not approve a Pfizer anti-abuse medication that contained niacin, which can cause a chemical flush. Critics of the drug said a person could take aspirin or food with the drug to avoid the flushing and that the side effect could bother people who were taking the medicine as directed.
Another Pfizer opioid, called Remoxy, is also being reviewed by the FDA, according to MedPage Today. It is a gelatinous form of long-acting oxycodone. The drug cannot be crushed or chewed and cannot be drawn into a syringe. Mixing it with alcohol does not release the drug’s full potency, as it does with other opioids.