OxyContin is a time-release form of oxycodone, an opium derivative, intended for use by terminal cancer patients and chronic pain sufferers. OxyContin, approved by the FDA in 1995 and introduced to the market in 1996, was hyped as a "wonder drug" in the fight against chronic pain. Designed to be swallowed whole and digested over 12 hours, the pills can produce a heroin like high if crushed and then swallowed, snorted or injected.
Perdue Pharma, the manufacturer launched an aggressive marketing campaign, promoting OxyContin for a wide range of medical problems and claiming the drug was less addictive than similar painkillers. It has been linked to addiction and abuse of the drug, crime and fatal overdoses, suffering and death, in patients using this prescription painkiller. The active ingredient in OxyContin (oxycodone) is the same one found in other well-known opioids such as Percocet, Vicodin and Percodan. OxyContin, however, contains a much higher dose of oxycodone than these other drugs because of its 12-hour time-release formulation.
It was once thought that opioids would be less subject to recreational abuse as other pain killers can cause stomach upset and liver damage; however, it has been demonstrated that abusers seeking the euphoric "high" are not deterred by these potential side effects or toxicities. Many allege that having been prescribed the painkiller to treat various types of pain the drug quickly took a hold of them, causing addiction and taking over their lives. It has been linked to at least 120 overdose deaths nationwide.
OxyContin is currently available in: 5, 10, 15, 20, 30, 40, 45, 60, 80 and 160 mg tablets. (although note that not all of these dosages are marketed in the USA) and, due to its sustained-release mechanism, is effective for eight to twelve hours. The 160 mg tablets were removed from sale due to problems with overdose, but have been re-introduced for limited use under strict medical supervision. On October 18, 2006, the FDA gave approval for three new dosage strengths, 15mg, 30mg, and 45mg. OxyNorm is available in 5, 10, and 20 mg capsules and tablets; also as a 1 mg/1 ml liquid in 250 ml bottles and as a 10 mg/1 ml concentrated liquid in 100 ml bottles.
It has been alleged that Purdue Pharma L.P. has marketed the drug excessively without stressing its addictive nature. Doctors and pharmacists say the manufacturer of OxyContin promoted the benefits of the drug without providing enough warning about the serious side effects of addiction. It has also been alleged Purdue Pharma L.P. made misrepresentations and failed to sufficiently warn individuals regarding appropriate use and risks of OxyContin.
On May 10, 2007, Purdue and executives at the company pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of falsely claiming that OxyContin was less addictive, less subject to abuse, and less likely to cause withdrawal symptoms than other pain medications when there was no medical research to support these claims, without Food and Drug Administration approval.
If you or someone you know has taken OxyContin and has suffered any serious side effects, such as addiction or death, please contact us, using the contact form on this page, for a rapid response regarding your rights and information about compensation for injuries.
Lawsuits of Interest
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