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    Oxycontin for kids: As terrible as you think?

    Children aged 11 years and older may now officially be issued Oxycontin prescriptions, but pediatric pain management and addiction specialists don’t see the move exacerbating the already significant opioid abuse problem in the United States.

    The US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) August 2015 label change adds the pediatric use of the long-acting opioid, with the stipulation that the patients must have already been tolerating opioids for at least 5 consecutive days at a 20 mg per day dosage at least 2 days immediately preceding the new Oxycontin dosage.

    Recommended: Prescription drug roulette

    Sharon Hertz, MD, director of the FDA’s division of anesthesia, analgesia, and addiction products, says the goal of the agency’s action was the provide physicians with more information about the safe use of these medications in pediatric patients.

    “I must stress that this program was not intended to expand or otherwise change the pattern of use of extended-release opioids in pediatric patients. Prior to this action, doctors had to rely on adult clinical data to shape their decision-making in treating pediatric patients,” Hertz says. “This program was intended to fill a knowledge gap and provide experienced healthcare practitioners with the specific information they need to use Oxycontin safely in pediatric patients.”

    Oxycontin now joins only 1 other extended release, long-acting opioid— Duragesic (fentanyl)—approved for pediatric use.

    Concerns have been raised about FDA’s decision, with a group of lawmakers even calling for an investigation of the agency.

    NEXT: How bad is the opioid misuse?

    Rachael Zimlich, RN
    Ms Zimlich is a freelance writer in Cleveland, Ohio. She writes regularly for Contemporary Pediatrics, Managed Healthcare Executive, and ...

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    • Dr. Bryan
      What is wrong with this publication? When I hear a patient call oxycodone "Oxy", it pricks my senses up for possible drug diversion. It is not the correct term and certainly not how this medication should be referred to in Contemporary Pediatrics. I am grievously disappointed in the author and the editors to let this title pass muster.

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