354 Million Prescriptions

by Jo on February 16, 2012

354 Million Prescriptions


National statistics indicate addiction to prescription drugs such as Oxycontin are higher than ever. Oxycontin is a name for a well known opioid analgesic that contains an active ingredient named Oxycodone, and this is also available as part of Percocet & Percodan. Oxycontin, a legal drug prescribed by doctors in cases of mild or very severe pain. Oxy is very addictive and most patients are not warned of its addictive nature. Oxycontin falls under the list of substances which are controlled by the state. Oxycontin is taken for medical purposes and has a strong analgesic effect, typically prescribed for pain that arises in cases of cancer, arthritis and back pain. However, Oxycontin is being abused more and more often; tablets are crushed into powder and then snorted, injected or smoked, to get instant action, or so-called “arrival”. This leads to an overdose of the active ingredient in Oxycontin – oxycodone, when too much of the substance is released too quickly into bloodstream.Oxycontin is so highly addictive, that very quickly the user begins to require larger and larger doses because of tolerance to the drug. Over the last few years the number of people illegally abusing Oxycontin has dramatically increased and continues to rise.

Slang Names

Oxycontin is also known by slang names such as: Oxy, oksikotton, Oxy 80, or OS (these are some of the slang terms common in U.S.).
Oxycontin usually exists in form of round pellets, which contain; 10milligram, 20milligram, 40milligram, 160milligramg and 80milligram of the substance. Oxycontin is also available in different form of capsules or also in liquid form.

Short-term Effects

The serious danger that arises when smoking Oxycontin is respiratory depression; and many other problems that the addict will now have to deal with. Oxycontin in combination with other drugs, such as: alcohol, antihistamines (medicines used to attempt treatment of allergies), or benzodiazepines severely increases risks and are life threatening.

Long-term Effects

Chronic use of Oxycontin develops tolerance and results in larger and larger doses of Oxycontin in order to get the desired effect. After some time, Oxycontin causes a physical dependence, which is accompanied by withdrawal symptoms in absence of the drug. Withdrawal symptoms from Oxycontin are fatigue, pain in muscles and bones, insomnia, diarrhea and vomiting, hot flashes and cold chills, sweating, and involuntary twitching legs.

Suing Purdue Pharma over OxyContin

Due to the false information and not being truthful with their advertising to general practitioners and other health care providers that had access to prescribe OxyContin, Purdue Pharma is liable for the damages caused by overdoses and addictions. This is what nearly all courts have been saying for the past several years in regards to lawsuits brought against the company by individuals and groups of people known as class action lawsuits.

FDA Required Warnings from Purdue

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the bottle of OxyContin has several warnings on it in the beginning. That was 1995. But the FDA required stricter warnings from Purdue Pharma in 2001. They issued the pharmaceutical company an ultimatum: they must place a black box warning on their pain reliever or take it off the market. A black box warning, like those seen on cigarette packages, are the highest from of warning the FDA passes out.

Black Box Labeling

At the same time as the warning about the black box labeling went out to the Purdue Pharma Company, the FDA tried to force the makers of OxyContin to send letters to doctors and other health care providers telling them of the dangers of the drug, the high probability of addiction and the necessity to taper a patient usage when removing them from the pain reliever drug to steer clear of the severe withdrawal symptoms resulting in stopping the medication without stepping it down. Purdue Pharma did not do either of these things. In fact, in 2003, the FDA had to issue them another warning regarding their ads that were appearing in medical journals targeting doctors but omitting any of the serious risks associated with their drug.

Suing Purdue Pharma

Purdue Pharma Company did not change any of their tactics and continued to train their sales team to minimize the effects of the drug. They were saying only 1% became addicted when studies showed up to 13% became addicted. All this neglect to abide by the FDA’s strong recommendations became fodder for lawsuits against the drug maker. Suing Purdue Pharma under the theory of product liability is what a lawyer will probably file if a family wants to seek damages in the death of their child after they have overdosed on the prescription drug. Product liability means that the product, in this case the OxyContin, was so dangerous, it should not have been allowed on the shelves for sale.

Doctors Sued for Malpractice

Some attorneys specializing in pharmaceutical cases will also tell a grieving family that they could sue the doctor, for malpractice, who prescribed the OxyContin as well as the makers of the drug that their son or daughter overdosed on. Additionally, an attorney may persuade a family that the pharmacist who filled the prescription also holds some liability for the death. There is also the sales rep who sold the drug idea to the doctor in the first place. If it weren’t for the drug rep, and the pharmaceutical company, then the doctor would not have prescribed OxyContin for that person, sending them down a path of addiction.

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White House Study

According to a White House study done in 2010, there has been a 400 percent increase in rehab admissions for prescription drug addiction over the last 10 years. Currently prescription drugs are the second most abused drugs in the United States.

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