Just Try and Tamper With It

Prescription opioid abuse rates drop with tamper resistant reformulation

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D

(RxWiki News) It’s no secret that opioid prescription abuse is a serious problem. Drug makers have tried reformulating opioid pills for anti-abuse and the rate of oxycodone abuse has dropped compared to the older version.

A recent study followed abuse rates of opioid prescription pills before and after the release of a tamper-resistant formula.

The study’s findings showed a 41 percent decline in overall ER oxycodone abuse.

"Seek treatment for prescription pill abuse."

Stephen F. Butler, PhD, Chief Science Officer and Senior Vice President for Inflexxion, led the investigation with fellow Inflexxion scientists and Purdue Pharma scientists. On August 5, 2010, extended-release oxycodone (OxyContin) was pulled off the shelves due to high rates of abuse through snorting, injecting, smoking or dissolving.

On August 9, 2010, a reformulated and tamper-resistant extended-release oxycodone (ORF) was distributed on the US market. For the study, manufacturers of ORF evaluated data on 140,496 in-treatment individuals in 357 different addiction facilities in the US from 2009-2012.

Researchers were looking for rates of non-oral ORF abuse compared to previous rates of OxyContin abuse to determine how tamper-resistant the new formula really was.

The study’s results showed ORF abuse was 41 percent lower than OxyContin abuse. Oral abuse was 17 percent lower and non-oral abuse was 66 percent lower than OxyContin abuse.

Founder and CEO of Inflexxion, Simon Budman, PhD, said, “While abuse of prescription opioids continues to be a significant public health concern, these findings suggest ORF thus far has been successful in deterring tampering relative to the original formulation.”

“This study serves as a proof of concept that tamper resistant formulations may help reduce overall abuse and abuse by non-oral routes of administration.”

Independent research will be necessary to verify these results.

This study was published in November in the Journal of Pain. Inflexxion, Inc. and Purdue Pharma, L.P. provided funding for this study. Authors claim no conflicts of interest.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
November 26, 2012
Last Updated:
November 29, 2012