A “painkiller” can be a very dangerous, and, at times, an extremely beneficial medication. It belongs to the opioid, or opiate, family of prescription medication(s). Opiates can have extremely therapeutic affects, in terms of pain management. But, unfortunately, the risk for developing a dependence is high. That dependence can, and often will, develop into a full-blown addiction. The statistics tell the story of the opiate addiction epidemic.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, opioid deaths have quadrupled since 1999. And, the UN World Health Organization has reported that 70,000 opioid deaths occur each year; 16,000 of those deaths occurred in the United States. With statistics like that, it is no wonder that opiate use has become very scrutinized in the past few decades, as overdose rates have steadily been on the rise. Opiate abuse-deterrent drug research and development is a relatively new industry, and is “still evolving.” It is said to be growing in response to our nation’s “public health crisis” (FDA).
Why an Abuse-Resistant Painkiller?
Abuse-resistant painkillers belong to the opiate family of medications, but are engineered with the goal in mind to reduce dependence. They are meant to be non-addictive, and supposedly, do not make users feel a sense of euphoria, or “high.”
Obviously, all prescription pain medication, or “painkillers,” are prescribed by a physician, who is hoping and intending to treat pain. Some people will take the pain medication, as prescribed on the bottle, for the amount of time prescribed by the physician, and move on with their lives. This administration of the medication would be considered “therapeutic.”
The second case involves someone taking the pain medication, not realizing that they were susceptible to developing an addiction, and, subsequently, develop an addiction. The third case could be that someone acquired the medication with no intention of using it in the prescribed manner, but instead, to abuse, themselves, or to distribute to others.
Unfortunately, a common situation is that people take the medication with no intention to abuse the drug, and develop a dependence. It is an all-too-common occurrence. The United States Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reported that “22 million Americans have misused prescription painkillers of various kinds since 2002.” That is a large number of people. Considering the fact that the U.S. population is at about 316 million. That is a large percentage. While this number does not constitute a majority, it is still a very large sector of the population.
A non-addictive pain killer could possibly be the solution to this problem. A non-addictive painkiller would, by no means, eliminate addiction. Not all addictions are to painkillers. Nor, would a non-addictive painkiller eliminate all addictions and overdoses that are associated with opiate use. But, there are, no doubt, benefits to these drugs.
Firstly, a non-habit-forming painkiller would be extremely helpful in eliminating addictions that originate with a patient taking a medication, not realizing his or her propensity toward addiction. And, secondly, non-addictive painkillers could reduce the likelihood that someone who has chronic pain issues, and who is also an addict, would relapse.
These two factors, alone, are reason enough to see the importance and necessity regarding an abuse-resistant painkiller. When addiction rates go down, overdose deaths decrease in direct proportion to that. The benefits seem to have extensive affects. Perhaps the whole scenario of an abuse-resistant painkiller seems “too good to be true.” How well do these painkillers work, anyway?
How Do Abuse-Resistant Pain Killers Work?
The United States Food and Drug Administration has approved a total of four abuse-resistant painkillers.
Non-addictive painkillers work on different nerve-ending receptors than habit-forming painkillers. Some medications are safeguarded by an interesting feature. For instance, a medication named Hysingla ER, developed by Purdue Pharma, L.P., turns into a “goo” when crushed. So, it is impossible to snort or shoot the drug; this does not make it impossible to become addicted to Hysingla ER, but it may help to reduce deaths caused by intravenous overdose deaths.
The FDA asserts that “the tablet is difficult to crush, break or dissolve, making it tougher for abusers to snort or inject it. “According to WebMd, “The FDA said that newly approved Hysingla ER (hydrocodone bitartrate) is an extended-release tablet to treat pain severe enough to require daily, round-the-clock, long-term opioid treatment that can’t be eased by other pain medications.”
Also, WebMd states that the drug is “not approved for ‘as-needed’ pain relief. “The FDA, states that the “different versions of Hysingla contain 20, 30, 40, 60, 80, 100 and 120 milligrams of hydrocodone to be taken every 24 hours.” Another plus to Hysingla ER is that it does not carry the same “liver toxicity associated with painkillers that contain both hydrocodone and acetaminophen” (WebMD).
Cara Therapeutics is a Connecticut-based pharmaceutical company. Cara Therapeutics recently unveiled their new compound, called CR845. CR845 does not directly enter into the brain, which decreases chances of getting high. This type of medication also reduces some of the classic opiate side effects, like nausea, seizure, and hallucinations.
Currently, Cara Therapeutics is researching and developing an IV form of CR845, which would mainly be consumed by post-operative patients. The company hopes to eventually make a pill-form to help address the symptoms associated with chronic pain, which would be a revolution in the field of pain management.
Another drug, Targiniq XR, also manufactured by Purdue, was created to replace the highly-addictive drug, Oxycodone. Oxycodone was formerly known as Percocet.
According to WebMD, common signs of painkiller addiction or abuse include:
- You think about your medication a lot.
- You take different amounts than your doctor prescribed.
- You’re “doctor shopping.”
- You get painkillers from other sources
- You’ve been using painkillers a long time.
- You feel angry if someone talks to you about it.
- You’re not quite yourself.
If you or a loved one is displaying some of these signs and symptoms, get help immediately. Addiction is a chronic and progressive disease, and if left untreated, can become fatal. The Palm Beach Institute can help you to begin a life that is worth living– one that is not dependent on drugs or alcohol. Contact us at the Palm Beach Institute, today.