Sunday, February 25, 2001

Altered Oxy in the works

Scientists creating version that won't make user 'high'

The Associated Press

        LEXINGTON, Ky. — The maker of a painkilling drug widely abused in Kentucky says it is developing a new version of the medication that would not produce the “high,” making it useless to abusers.

        Purdue Pharma spokesman James Heins would not say how the reformulation of OxyContin might work. But he did say it would involve changing the way the drug is delivered inside the body.

        Mr. Heins said the drug would still be an effective painkiller, but would offer no attraction for drug users.

        University of Kentucky pharmacologist Dr. Robert Yokel said this is not the first time a drug's formula has been altered. A few years ago manufacturers made changes in the painkiller Talwin, attempting to make the drug unattractive to abusers, he said.

        “This could be a way to reduce OxyContin's misuse potential,” Dr. Yokel said.

        OxyContin is sold in a tablet form. Abusers of the drug crush the tablets into powder and snort or inject it.

        Mr. Heins said it is unclear when the new version of the drug would be available.

        “We would have to submit it to FDA and show that this formula is safe and effective,” he said. “We have a real sense of urgency to develop a tamper-resistance formulation of the product.”


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