The FDA now requires a “black box” warning on certain narcotic pain killers in an effort to educate people on the overdose dangers of this type of drug. The new black box label requirement is for the immediate-release painkillers, like oxycodone.
Narcotic painkillers come in two types of delivery systems in pill form. One is extended-release, which contains much more of the painkilling drug, but it is formulated to slowly release the drug into your system. Some of the extended-release drugs are formulated to last up to 12-hours. The extended-release painkillers have carried a black box warning since 2013, reports Fox News on March 23.
The immediate-release painkiller dissolves right away delivering the painkilling medication into your system over a much shorter duration than the extended release does. They usually last 4-6 hours per dose.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “overdose deaths involving prescription drugs have quadrupled since 1999, and has followed an increase in prescribing. Today, prescription narcotics kill more people than car accidents, annually. More than 40 people die a day from opiate overdoses.”
According to the video above, the CDC reports that enough narcotic painkillers were prescribed in the year 2010 to medicate every adult in the U.S. around the clock for a month. That’s a lot of pain medication!
News Max reports that the FDA is adding the “boldest” warning to these immediate release painkiller prescriptions. It is the strongest warning that the FDA issues and this warning will now be seen on the most widely used prescription painkillers.
Dr. Doug Throckmorton, who is a deputy director in the FDA’s drug center, explains why the black box warning is important on these immediate-release narcotic painkillers. He said: “This new indication, once finalized, will remind prescribers that immediate-release opioids are also powerful drugs with important safety concerns.”
The immediate release painkilling drugs make up 90 percent of the prescribed narcotic medications in the nation, despite the strict prescribing rules. Again, this is just one of the many recent steps the FDA is taking in the war against prescription drug overdoses.
We’re at a time when the unfathomable tragedies resulting from addiction, overdose and death have become one of the most urgent and devastating public health crises facing our country,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf told the media in a recent interview. “I can’t stress enough how critical it is for prescribers to have the most current information.”