Updated: 07/23/2014 6:14 PM
Created: 07/23/2014 6:13 PM WDIO.com
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new combination pain pill from the maker of OxyContin that is designed to discourage abuse by painkiller addicts.
Purdue Pharma's new drug Targiniq ER is an extended release tablet that combines oxycodone - the active ingredient in OxyContin - with the drug naloxone. FDA regulators approved the drug for daily, round-the-clock pain that does not respond to other medications.
If abusers crush the tablets for snorting or injecting naloxone blocks the euphoric effects of oxycodone, making the drug more difficult to abuse. Naloxone is currently used to reverse the overdose effects of opioids, highly addictive painkilling drugs including morphine, methadone, codeine and others.
The FDA notes that Targiniq can still be abused by simply swallowing the tablets, the most frequent method of painkiller abuse.
The FDA has been under intense public pressure to combat the national epidemic of prescription opioid abuse. Deaths linked to addictive medications like OxyContin and Vicodin have quadrupled since 1990 to an estimated 16,500 in 2010, the most recent year for which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports figures.
Doctors prescribe opioids for a wide range of ailments, from post-surgical pain to arthritis and migraines.
Stamford, Connecticut-based Purdue has often been cited by public health advocates as a key contributor to the overprescribing of opioids. In 2007, Purdue Pharma and three of its executives paid $634 million and pleaded guilty to charges of misleading the public about the safety and addictiveness of OxyContin.
Since then the company introduced a harder-to-abuse version of OxyContin that is designed to resist crushing, chewing and dissolving.
"The FDA is committed to combatting the misuse and abuse of all opioids, and the development of opioids that are harder to abuse is needed in order to help address the public health crisis of prescription drug abuse in the U.S.," said FDA's Dr. Sharon Hertz.
The FDA is requiring Purdue to conduct long-term follow-up studies tracking rates of abuse, addiction, overdose and death with Targiniq. Those requirements are standard for all extended release opioid drugs approved in the U.S.
(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
Superior Police: Officer's Use of Force Justified
The Superior Police Department says an internal investigation has found an officer's use of force was justified in an arrest seen on a controversial dashcam video. However, the officer was given a 10-hour unpaid suspension for "vulgar and unprofessional" communication during the arrest.
Johnston Investigation Concludes Five Allegations Substantiated
An investigation into allegations that a Duluth school board member threatened the district's superintendent and other board members concludes that five of six claims are warranted. A 67-page report details the allegations against school board member Art Johnston released to Eyewitness News on Friday.
Denfeld High School Debuts In-School Food Pantry, Clothes Closet
A new program at Denfeld High School in Duluth aimed at making sure students don't go hungry or without clothes, made its debut on Friday. The Hunter Hut food pantry and clothes closet is the first of its kind in an eight-county radius because it gives students the chance to shop for free groceries and clothing right at school....
Rice Lake Township Makes Moves To Become a City
After the City of Duluth brought up the idea of annexing Rice Lake Township, township leaders are continuing their efforts to turn the township into a city.
Washburn Co. Sheriff: Concrete Damaging Tires on Hwy. 53
The Washburn County Sheriff's Office says five vehicles have suffered tire and wheel damage due to concrete problems on U.S. Highway 53. Sheriff Terry Dryden said county highway workers are checking to see what can be done.