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Painkillers: OxyContin Now FDA-Approved To Treat Some Children

First Posted: Aug 14, 2015 04:37 PM EDT
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The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced their approval Thursday for the prescription use of the painkiller OxyContin in patients as young as 11 years old, according to a news release

In an interview with FDA director for anesthesia, analgesia and addiction medication Dr. Sharon Hertz, she noted that it is effective for managing chronic pain conditions based on an evaluation and study on OxyContin on pediatric patients under the Best Pharmaceuticals for Children Act (BPCA).

"We requested the manufacturer of the pain management drug OxyContin perform studies evaluating safety and other important information about oxycodone and OxyContin when used in pediatric patients. These studies supported a new pediatric indication for OxyContin in patients 11 to 16 years old, and provided prescribers with helpful information about the use of OxyContin in pediatric patients," said Hertz.

Yet the powerful narcotic has stirred quite the controversy over the years. The highly addictive and controlled painkiller is oftentimes used to treat pain conditions like cancer, arthritis and other injuries. OxyContin usually contains 10 to 80 milligrams of oxycodone and is a time-release formula that induces 12 hours of pain-free relief, according to WebMD. Yet as the prescription painkiller reacts on the nervous system in similar ways to heroin or even opium, it has been known to be abused. 

The new approval also notes that doctors are only urged to prescribe OxyContin to pediatric patients who have been tolerant of other opioids in the past.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, OxyContin is still considered to be one of the most abused painkillers in the United States.

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