The Food and Drug Administration has approved a limited usage of the painkiller Oxycontin for children as young as 11 years old.
From NBC News:
Dr. Sharon Hertz, director of new anesthesia, analgesia and addiction products for the FDA, said studies by Purdue Pharma of Stamford, Connecticut, which manufactures the drug, “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.”
OxyContin is a well known and frequently abused painkiller and a long-release of Oxycodone, an opioid that has effects on the brain similar to those of heroin and is intended for handling only extremely severe and chronic pain cases.
Oxycodone and other opioids are highly addictive and strictly regulated but remain popular among pill poppers.
Five years ago, Purdue Pharma reformulated OxyContin in order to make it more difficult for patients to crush up the pills for a fast high.
Hertz said the FDA was putting strict limits on the use of OxyContin in children. Children will have to have already shown that they can tolerate the drug by dealing with a minimum dose of oxycodone equal to 20mg for five consecutive days.
“OxyContin is not intended to be the first opioid drug used in pediatric patients, but the data show that changing from another opioid drug to OxyContin is safe if done properly.”
The Duragesic patch, which releases fentanyl, is the only other FDA-approved opioid for children.