OxyContin was first developed by a pharmaceutical company called Purdue Pharma in 1995. The active ingredient in OxyContin is oxycodone, which was first developed by German scientists in 1916 and introduced to the US market in 1939. However, OxyContin is different from oxycodone in that it contains a time release component. This means a much larger dose of oxycodone can be distributed to the body over a longer period of time.
The Time Release Mechanism
Before the introduction of OxyContin, there were pain killers such like Morphine and Perdocan which were widely used. These pain killers could only relieve an individual’s pain for 2 or 3 hours, which meant that the individual would have to take several pills a day to continue to remain pain free. The introduction of OxyContin was a breakthrough in medical history because it eliminated this problem by delivering its active ingredients over a period of 12 hours. Thus patients suffering from severe pain because of major surgery or cancer only needed to take 2 doses of pain medication daily.
The popularity of OxyContin continued to soar during the first few years of its release, and earned nearly a million dollars for Purdue Pharma. The company also came out with an aggressive marketing campaign to encourage physicians to prescribe OxyContin to their patients who suffer from chronic pain.
Scope of Abuse
The potential that OxyContin had to be abused was realised from very early on. Individuals started abusing OxyContin and soon discovered that if the drug was crushed and snorted or injected then it removed the time release component from it, and they could get the full effect of the drug very quickly. Soon, OxyContin started receiving bad press as more and more individuals started learning about the drug and its effects. Emergency rooms were filled with people who had abused OxyContin and were overdosing.
A new formulation of OxyContin was approved in 2010 by the US Food and Drug Administration. The newly formulated pills consist of ingredients that prevent any tampering by crushing, breaking or chewing the tablets. Thus while individuals with an addiction may still take more pills to support their addiction, they won’t be able to corrupt the time release properties of the drug.
Curbing the Abuse
It is important to realise that those individuals who abuse OxyContin are inadvertently making the drug inaccessible for those who really need it, such as cancer patients, arthritis sufferers and others who go through injuries and surgery. Due to the high risk of abuse, some pharmacies are not stocking the medication, and doctors are cautious about prescribing it to their patients.
If you or a loved one is having problems with OxyContin abuse, call Hired Power. We will discuss all available treatment options and solutions with you.