More MS news articles for Aug 2001

Purdue Pharma Examining Naloxone to Curb Abuse Potential of OxyContin

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Aug 24 - Purdue Pharma said on Friday it is examining a drug formulation that would combine the prescription pain drug OxyContin (controlled-release oxycodone) with naloxone to help curb the abuse potential of OxyContin.

The company's efforts come at a time when abuse of its OxyContin has generated a storm of media attention. The drug is intended for use by terminal cancer patients and those with chronic pain, but it has been linked to at least 120 overdose deaths nationwide.

The firm said earlier this month that it had begun the international patenting process for an abuse-resistant pain drug formulation making use of naltrexone. Both naloxone and naltrexone block receptors for opioid-like chemicals in the brain. A spokesman for the Stamford, Connecticut-based company told Reuters Health that a number of other antagonists with similar mechanisms also are under review.

Drug abusers crush OxyContin pills to snort or inject them, a trick that circumvents the time-release mechanism and creates a high similar to the one produced by heroin.

The new formulation which might contain a painkiller different than OxyContin's will be designed to release an antagonist like naloxone or naltrexone when pills are crushed, preventing the abuser from achieving a high. If the drug is swallowed whole, the antagonist will be passed harmlessly out of the body and will not interfere with delivery of the pain medication, according to the firm.

Copyright © 2001 Reuters Ltd