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The Facts about the FDA's Painkiller Abuse Strategy

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The Food and Drug Administration has launched a new risk evaluation and mitigation strategy (REMS) to combat widespread prescription painkiller abuse. How will it impact patients who take prescription medications for chronic pain? Here, the facts to help you work with the FDAs painkiller abuse strategy....

The Food and Drug Administration has launched a new risk evaluation and mitigation strategy (REMS) to combat widespread prescription painkiller abuse. How will it impact patients who take prescription medications for chronic pain?  Here, the facts to help you work with the FDAs painkiller abuse strategy.

From the White House to the doctor's office, it's a common held belief that prescription drug abuse is epidemic. It has replaced illegal drugs as the number one drug problem in America. The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy is working on a plan to cut the rate of abuse by 15 percent within five years. Along with other agencies and organizations, the FDA's is developing strategies to tackle this problem and meet the White House goal.

Their newly announced REMS will work to educate patients and doctors on proper use and prescribing of extended-release (long-acting) prescription pain medications, like Oxycontin, Fentanyl, Duragesic and extended-release Morphine.  Surprisingly, an FDA advisory committee voted against this specific plan because they didn't think it went far enough.  They wanted to include short-acting pain medications like Vicodin and Percocet too.

The FDA decided this first educational step, which is designed to help make doctors and patients aware of abuse potential, keep prescription pain drugs out of the hands of potential abusers, and help them with safer prescription and pain management plans. The FDA will provide educational materials to doctors and pharmacies, and a medication guide that uses consumer friendly language to explain safe use and disposal. They won't, however, require doctors or patients to participate in educational programs.

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