A team of doctors, researchers and public health officials are lobbying the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to change the safety labels on prescription painkillers known as opioids to prevent more people from abusing the drugs.
Opioids are powerful pain relievers such as fentanyl, morphine and oxycodone. They work by suppressing the perception of pain and calming the emotional response to pain. They are generally prescribed to treat moderate to severe chronic pain.
The medical and public health officials are asking the FDA to revise the drugs’ safety labels to add a maximum daily dose and only allow patients to take them for up to 90 days unless they are being treated for cancer-related pain. They are also asking that the drugs only be for severe pain and not moderate pain.
The label change would not prevent doctors from prescribing the drugs, but it would make it illegal for pharmaceutical companies to market the medication for moderate pain and other uses that are not on the safety label.
The FDA has taken recent measures to combat the abuse and misuse of powerful opioids, such as targeting “pill mills” that sell painkillers to addicts and asking drug companies to pay for courses that train doctors on safe prescribing methods. But critics say that much of the blame falls on the pharmaceutical companies, which often market the drugs for chronic pain.
The FDA said it would comment directly to the doctors and public health officials who issued the petition.
Source: Fox News