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Larissa Doucette

Abuse-deterrent formulations of commonly abused prescription medications can sometimes still be misused cautions a new report. In fact, some experts have become concerned that the protective measures taken in abuse-deterrent formulations are “misunderstood and could mislead both users and prescribers into thinking that the underlying medications are less addictive,” an article in The New York Times indicates. Although abuse of some medications, such as OxyContin®, appears to have been reduced since the abuse-deterrent formulation was released, some determined abusers resort to extraordinary measures to render abuse-deterrent protections inert, explains the report.

This effect has also been observed by researchers. For example, one recent study found that abuse-deterrent formulations can help to reduce abuse, but with limited effectiveness. The researchers commented that abuse-deterrent formulations should be part of prevention strategies, but “efforts to reduce supply alone will not mitigate the opioid abuse problem.” In April 2015, FDA released final guidance for manufacturers on the development of labeling of abuse-deterrent opioids, noting that “While drugs with abuse-deterrent properties are not ‘abuse-proof,’ the FDA sees this guidance as an important step toward balancing appropriate access to opioids for patients with pain with the importance of reducing opioid misuse and abuse.”