Federal health regulators will soon add their most robust warning labels to the most distributed painkillers as per a multi-pronged government campaign to stop the spreading of abuse and deaths related to drugs such as Vicodin and Percocet. The Food and Drug Administration said on Tuesday that it plans to put a boxed warning, a very serious one at that, to all “immediate-release opioid painkillers,” as well as 175 branded and generic drugs.
Those painkillers, which are often mixed with oxycodone with lower-grade medications, are some of the most commonly abused drugs in the United States and make up about ninety percent of all opioid painkillers given. Approximately three years ago, the FDA included similar labels to long-acting opioid drugs such as OxyContin, which gradually release their doses over the course of twelve hours or so.
At the moment, both ”immediate and extended-release formulations” will highlight the problems associated with addiction, overdose, and even death. The changes that have been waiting for a long time come as federal and state officials fight to curb a wave of overdose let by the overprescribing go medications and a constant supply of cheap opiates.
“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,” Dr. Robert Califf, FDA Commissioner, said on a call. “I can’t stress enough how critical it is for prescribers to have the most current information.”
However, lawmakers from states that have been overtaken by opioid abuse stated that such level warning has “done little” to help their respective areas.
“Unfortunately, it has taken FDA far too long to address the grave risks of these drugs that have claimed the lives of thousands this year alone,” Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass, stated.
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