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posted by Fnord666 on Monday May 22 2017, @07:11AM   Printer-friendly
from the prescription-for-a-disaster dept.

Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:

Patients would no longer have to wake up in the middle of the night to take their pills, Purdue told doctors. One OxyContin tablet in the morning and one before bed would provide "smooth and sustained pain control all day and all night."

When Purdue unveiled OxyContin in 1996, it touted 12-hour duration.

On the strength of that promise, OxyContin became America's bestselling painkiller, and Purdue reaped $31 billion in revenue.

But OxyContin's stunning success masked a fundamental problem: The drug wears off hours early in many people, a Los Angeles Times investigation found. OxyContin is a chemical cousin of heroin, and when it doesn't last, patients can experience excruciating symptoms of withdrawal, including an intense craving for the drug.

The problem offers new insight into why so many people have become addicted to OxyContin, one of the most abused pharmaceuticals in U.S. history.

Over the last 20 years, more than 7 million Americans have abused OxyContin, according to the federal government's National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The drug is widely blamed for setting off the nation's prescription opioid epidemic, which has claimed more than 190,000 lives from overdoses involving OxyContin and other painkillers since 1999.

The internal Purdue documents reviewed by The Times come from court cases and government investigations and include many records sealed by the courts. They span three decades, from the conception of OxyContin in the mid-1980s to 2011, and include emails, memos, meeting minutes and sales reports, as well as sworn testimony by executives, sales reps and other employees.

The documents provide a detailed picture of the development and marketing of OxyContin, how Purdue executives responded to complaints that its effects wear off early, and their fears about the financial impact of any departure from 12-hour dosing.

Reporters also examined Food and Drug Administration records, Patent Office files and medical journal articles, and interviewed experts in pain treatment, addiction medicine and pharmacology.

Experts said that when there are gaps in the effect of a narcotic like OxyContin, patients can suffer body aches, nausea, anxiety and other symptoms of withdrawal. When the agony is relieved by the next dose, it creates a cycle of pain and euphoria that fosters addiction, they said.

OxyContin taken at 12-hour intervals could be "the perfect recipe for addiction," said Theodore J. Cicero, a neuropharmacologist at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and a leading researcher on how opioids affect the brain.

Patients in whom the drug doesn't last 12 hours can suffer both a return of their underlying pain and "the beginning stages of acute withdrawal," Cicero said. "That becomes a very powerful motivator for people to take more drugs."

-- submitted from IRC

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  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Runaway1956 on Monday May 22 2017, @09:57AM (3 children)

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 22 2017, @09:57AM (#513419) Journal

    "Addiction is kind of meaningless when your life expectancy is short."

    Exactly. If a person has high blood pressure, and his blood pressure pills enable him to continue living, then he is "addicted" to those pills. Withdrawal symptoms include - death.

    So, another person has a condition which causes him severe pain. Pain pills enable him to function normally, or close to normally. Without the pills, he cannot function. It's really that simple, he has to have the pain medication. He is, by definition, "addicted". Just like any drug addled criminal in the back alleys, he can't face life without his drugs. Purdue pulled the wool over the nation's eyes, by changing the definition of "addiction". Supposedly, a terminally ill patient cannot be an addict - BUT HE IS!!

    AC above has justification for being addicted to his pills. It's not an illicit thing, he suffers, and he needs his pain pills to function. But, he's an addict.

    An outright ban of any drug is going to be counterproductive. The least used drugs in the world have their uses, or they wouldn't exist. The most used drugs are being abused, to be sure, but they came to exist because there are legitimate uses for them.

    There should be a ban, though. The pharmaceuticals should be banned from advertising their wares on television, radio, and the internet. The latest thing I'm hearing, is for EPI - some kind of digestive disorder. In the commercial, people are urged to discuss the problem with their doctors, and to name the specific EPI treatment specifically. Like - doctors have never heard of digestive disorders before, and they'll only learn of them if the patient teaches the doctor about them.

    Ban big pharma from advertising, and a lot of our addiction problems will start curing themselves. Take doctors back about two or three decades, when they were reluctant to prescribe opioids, but they would do so with justification. Of course we need opioids, but you don't pass them out like candy to every person who stubs his toe, or whacks his thumb with a hammer. Fek, that's stupid.

    And, oh yeah. "I hope the son of bitch gets a big fat adenocarcinoma in his colon. It would, by proximity, metastacize to his head." Thumbs up for that one!! 👍

    Starting Score:    1  point
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       Troll=1, Insightful=1, Interesting=3, Total=5
    Extra 'Interesting' Modifier   0  
    Karma-Bonus Modifier   +1  

    Total Score:   5  
  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by kaszz on Monday May 22 2017, @02:22PM (2 children)

    by kaszz (4211) on Monday May 22 2017, @02:22PM (#513495) Journal

    Some countries, sane countries actually have a ban on pharmaceutical advertising.

    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 22 2017, @07:06PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 22 2017, @07:06PM (#513676)

      Yes a lot of people are in search of a problem that can explain X. Really a result of people having too much fucking time on their hands, and not enough productive work to do.

      Blocking advertising may keep these people from going: "Oh yes! I must have OCBPSTFF as this add suggests, and this magical pill can cure it!". But stopping these types of advertisments might not work as well in the US because of corruption at every level.

      The doctors are pushing this shit. So I guess people would have to avoid going to the doctor all together!

      "Oh you indicated on the questionnaire you are experiencing low-to-moderate, intermittent, back-ache. Have you heard of Heroin-Lite (TM)?"

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 23 2017, @01:14AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 23 2017, @01:14AM (#513882)

      Runaway1956 does not live in a sane country, for he is not sane himself.