Change is in the air for the prescription opioid problem that has reached epidemic proportions in the United States. After the CDC announced their new guidelines for doctors who prescribe opiates just last week, The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had an announcement of their own.
The FDA announced this month that it’s making it a requirement for prescription opioids to now have warning labels on the bottles. The requirements apply to IR (immediate release) opioids and will advise patients on the dangers of combining conflicting medications as well as the effects of prescription pill abuse.
“Today’s actions are one of the largest undertakings for informing prescribers of risks across opioid products, and one of many steps the FDA intends to take this year as part of our comprehensive action plan to reverse this epidemic,” Robert Califf, M.D., FDA commissioner.
Many think this is a long time coming.
“It really made no sense to have the boxed warning for the long-acting, or extended-release, opioids back in 2013 and not to have done the same thing with the short-acting, or immediate-release, opioids,” Dr. Michael Carome, director of the Public Citizen Health Research Group told a source.
This is not the first time that the FDA has cracked down on prescription pills. Back in 2013, they required that all extended release prescription opioids have warning labels as well. Extended release opioids are known to be much more addictive than immediate release opioids, due to their potency.
The announcement is happy for some but it does have some critics that believe the warning labels will have little effect on the opioid epidemic.
“It will probably only make a small difference,” Carome said. “This is just one small step of many steps that are going to need to be taken. It’s not going to suddenly solve all the problems.”
When partnered with the CDC’s efforts, we could really be on the right track to alleviating the stigma and lowering the overdose rates of addiction.
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