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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: 2) by DeathMonkey on Monday May 22 2017, @05:28PM (4 children)

    by DeathMonkey (1380) on Monday May 22 2017, @05:28PM (#513612) Journal

    "In particular, he finishes by noting that people with chronic or terminal illness expect continued prescriptions of opioid painkillers and therefore an outright ban is problematic."

    What John Doucheiver doesn't seem to get is that late-stage cancer treatment is almost exclusively palliative. i.e.pain management. That means pain killers. Strong ones.

    That's literally what the quote above says. Learn to read first before resorting to the name-calling.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 22 2017, @06:43PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 22 2017, @06:43PM (#513657)

    Substitute "need" for "expect" and you might have a point. Learn the subtle nuances of language before you snidely suggest reading lessons.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 22 2017, @07:08PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 22 2017, @07:08PM (#513679)

    Anyone using the word "problematic" gives themselves away as a clueless fuck-wit on the given subject. It basically means he will virtue-grand-stand about current policy but has no better solutions. A total fucking tool, and a waste of time to listen to.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 22 2017, @09:27PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 22 2017, @09:27PM (#513775)

      A total fucking tool, and a waste of time to listen to.

      Thoth! And Forsooth! Truly this is a problematic post. I don't know what to do about it. Perhaps take its own advice?

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by DannyB on Monday May 22 2017, @09:47PM

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 22 2017, @09:47PM (#513787) Journal

      Utilizing the word "problematic" is not nearly as bad as an idiot who would utilize the word "utilize" and its variants. Whenever one would write "utilize", one should write "use" instead because the word "utilize" is problematic.

      Can't large language models be put in charge of resolving ethical issues related to the use of AI?