The FDA, after 165,000 prescription opioid deaths over the past 15 years, has finally become more aggressive with painkiller warnings. The FDA announced plans this week to add black box warnings to all immediate-release opioid painkillers. This warning will be included on 175 branded and generic drugs. The FDA added warnings three years ago to long-acting opioid drugs such as OxyContin.
Overwhelming evidence suggests both immediate and extended-release formulations carry serious risks of addiction, abuse, overdose, and death. The most recent statistics from the CDC, from 2014, noted an alarming 14,000 people died from prescription overdoses (165,000 since 1999) and another 2 million are classified as ‘addicted’ to the drugs. Every 24 hours, over 1,000 people are treated in emergency rooms across America due to misusing prescription opioids. The word ‘epidemic’ is now often associated with this growing and very serious problem.
FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf said, “We’re at a time when the unfathomable tragedies resulting from addiction, overdose and death have become one of the most urgent and devestating public health crises facing our country. I can’t stress enough how critical it is for prescribers to have the most current information.” Detractors, however, say labeling alone isn’t enough. Lawmakers in states ravaged by opioid addiction say previous labeling changes have seen little impact.
At Magnolia Medical Center, one of our primary goals is to help our patients achieve pain relief without the use of these types of medications. Our groundbreaking methods utilize the latest in medical research to relieve pain naturally. For more information about our methods and how we can help, call us at (615) 953-9007.