With America in a ‘quiet’ state of crisis in their waning battle against drug abuse – thanks to over the counter opiates like fentanyl – sterner warnings will be added to opioid painkillers.
Oxycodone, hydrocodone and morphine will have more informative labels, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced Tuesday. What was lacking before will now be featured prominently: the risks associated with taking opioid painkillers (and really, why weren’t they there before?).
Risks including addiction, misuse, overdose and death will be on the new labels. The labels will also include the risk of women using opioids while pregnant, which has been linked to opioid withdrawal syndrome (NOWS) in newborns.
Newly minted FDA commissioner Dr. Robert Califf says this is the first of many steps the administration is taking to “reverse this epidemic.”
The FDA says it’s “reassess[ing] its approach to opioid medications” in general.
The administration is hopeful this change will help with the drug epidemic in the country, while still providing pain relief to those who truly need it.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released guidelines for opioid use, claiming physicians shouldn’t prescribe these powerful drugs so freely. Rushing to painkiller prescriptions should be a last resort; doctors should offer alternatives like exercise and cognitive behavioral therapy, or very small doses of painkillers if absolutely needed.