The Food and Drug Administration has not had the easiest job in the last two or so years, but it would appear that the agency is still willing to take on new challenges. Officials in the FDA published a letter in The New England Journal of Medicine, warning of the dangers of non-opioid painkillers once opioid abuse is under control. These officials already have a shortlist of potential replacement painkillers (both prescription and over the counter varieties) once opioids are out of the picture, and they are keeping them under tight watch. Make no mistake though; the agency is still fully focused on the opioid epidemic.
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New addiction trends seem to materialize overnight. For the Food and Drug Administration, every drug is a potential suspect.
In a letter published Wednesday in The New England Journal of Medicine, the FDA officials Douglas C. Throckmorton, Scott Gottlieb, and Janet Woodcock warned that non-opioid painkillers could be at the forefront of the next wave of drug abuse.
“We must be aware that any decisive actions taken to reduce prescription opioid abuse and stem the tide of overdose and death can have unintended consequences, including prompting people to turn to alternative, potentially dangerous substances,” the officials wrote in the letter.
There were more than 42,000 deaths in the US attributed to opioids in 2016, and 40% of all opioid-overdose deaths involve prescription opioids, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The FDA says it is reducing excess amounts of opioids in circulation, encouraging doctors to prescribe drugs other than opioids when possible, and developing new therapeutics to help people dealing with pain. Click Here to continue reading at Business Insider.