The New York Times , 25 January 2013 has this heading: F.D.A. Likely to Add Limits on Painkillers
- Painkillers like Vicodin that contain hydrocodone, the most widely prescribed drugs in the country. Oxycodone is another highly abused painkiller and the main ingredient in OxyContin.
- Painkillers now take the lives of more Americans than heroin and cocaine combined.
- And since 2008, drug-induced deaths have outstripped those from traffic accidents.
- Prescription drugs account for about three-quarters of all drug overdose deaths in the United States, with the number of deaths from painkillers quadrupling since 1999.
The F.D.A. convened the panel, made up of scientists, pain doctors and other experts, which contends that the drugs are among the most frequently abused painkillers and should be more tightly controlled.
The change would have sweeping consequences for doctors, pharmacists and patients. Refills without a new prescription would be forbidden, as would faxed prescriptions and those called in by phone. Only written prescriptions from a doctor would be allowed.
Distributors would be required to store the drugs in special vaults.
While hydrocodone products are the most widely prescribed painkillers, they make up a minority of deaths, because there is less medication in each tablet than some of the other more restricted drugs, like extended-release oxycodone products, said Dr. Nathaniel Katz, assistant professor of anesthesia at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston.
Oxycodone and methadone products account for about two-thirds of drug overdose deaths, he said.
Dr. Andrew Kolodny, chairman of psychiatry at Maimonides Medical Center in New York and president of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing, a New York-based advocacy group said: “This is about correcting a mistake made 40 years ago that’s had disastrous consequences.”
Note: Some years ago, the painkiller Vioxx – which were reported to have killed thousands and thousands have been withdrawn.
Do you ever wonder: What kind of science and what kind of a word are we living in now, that drugs which are once been prescribed like peanuts have now suggested to be kept in special vaults in the pharmacies?