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A new version of the potent painkiller OxyContin that makers claim will be harder to abuse has attracted scepticism from US government advisers.
Purdue Pharma LP says that adding a plastic-like coating to the tablets will make the drug, sometimes called “hillbilly heroin”, harder to crush and abuse by snorting or injecting it.
But Food and Drug Administration experts are not yet convinced and have called for more testing.
Dr Curtis Rosebraugh said: “What we heard from the committee was that they have a lot of concern that the formulation had not been adequately evaluated.”
The advisory panel was asked to assess how much evidence would be needed before a new OxyContin version of the drug could be sold as a tamper-resistant product and to identify any potential problems.
The FDA is not bound by the panel, which did not vote on whether the drug should be licensed for sale, but typically follows it.
OxyContin is a time-release version of oxycodone, designed to be swallowed whole and digested over 12 hours to keep a steady flow of painkiller in the bodies of seriously ill patients.
Abusers can obtain a heroin-like high if they crush a tablet to get the whole dose in one.
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