There’s a new painkiller that’s just been approved by our Food and Drug Administration. It’s called Targiniq ER – ER means Extended Release. It breaks down slowly in your body and provides lengthy pain relief. Targiniq is a new form of OxyContin and is made by Purdue Pharma, the same company that has always made OxyContin.
What makes this pill different is that is contains another ingredient, naloxone. Naloxone blocks the effects of the opiate, making it non-euphoric if it is abused. This is the same substance that has started being distributed to first responders, like police, so they can bring back a heroin or painkiller user from an overdose.
The naloxone only kicks in if the pill is crushed to be snorted or injected. If a person takes the drug by mouth, it won’t have any effect.
The idea here, according to one of the FDA staff:
“The development of opioids that are harder to abuse is needed in order to help address the public health crisis of prescription drug abuse in the U.S.”
The implication is clear: This tamper-preventive formula will help reduce prescription drug abuse.
Or will it? The FDA even admits the shortcoming in a www.drugfree.org article:
“Targiniq ER can still be abused, including when taken orally (by mouth), which is currently the most common way oxycodone is abused.” Targiniq is expected to “deter, but not totally prevent” abuse.
This new formulation may help prevent some abuse. But it definitely fails to get to the heart of the real problems that need to be addressed:
• Faulty prescribing methods
• Doctors not knowing how to spot addiction
• Doctors not knowing how to help a patient that is seeking drugs or one that has become dependent on their medications.
Dr. Andrew Kolody of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing was also quoted in this article on the www.drugfree.org website:
Dr. Andrew Kolodny… told the newspaper he is concerned that doctors who believe Targiniq is safe may be more likely to prescribe it than to look for alternatives. “If we really want to turn this epidemic around, the most important thing is to stop creating new cases of addiction,” he said. “Coming up with new gimmicks isn’t going to help.” (My emphasis.)
Many (not all) people will respond to other methods of pain control or relief than just prescribing opiates. There is a groundswell just starting to be felt that these other methods should be tried before settling into a painkiller routine. Perhaps an investment in non-opiate painkillers will pay off with a non-addictive solution.
Putting a patient on Targiniq has the potential to make a patient just as addicted as putting him on Vicodin or OxyContin. And he (or she) can still find heroin in any corner of the US if the pills run out.