While opioids are very effective at managing chronic pain, they also come with the risk of misuse and abuse. Drugmakers have been working to find effective methods of deterring abuse of their products and thereby decreasing rates of overdose and addiction.
Pfizer’s Troxyca ER (oxycodone hydrochloride and naltrexone hydrochloride) is a new formulation of oxycodone with abuse-deterrent measures built in and has just been approved by the US FDA. When taken as directed, only the oxycodone on the outside of the pill is taken up into the bloodstream, providing long-lasting relief from chronic pain.
When the drug is abused by being crushed up and taken intranasally, the ordinarily sequestered naltrexone counteracts the oxycodone, deterring abuse. The concept of combining opoid antagonists with agonists to discourage abuse is not new; as early as the 1970s naloxone was being added to formulations of pentazocine. However, given the ongoing public health crisis in Canada related to opioid overdose (primarily fentanyl), this continued commitment to patient health and safety from major drug manufacturers is very encouraging.