Pregnancy

Just What We Need, OxyContin ‘Just For Kids’!

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Ritalin and ADHD may be core to the contemporary parenting discussion surrounding over-medicated kids. But Ritalin and the like is pretty much child’s play in comparison to breaking off a tablet of OxyContin for your little one. A practice which some doctors do, prompting Purdue Pharma, the drug company, to consider creating a “just for kids” version.

The Daily reports that pediatricians giving kids with moderate to severe pain OxyContin is a “common practice,” mirroring other findings that more than 60% of drugs prescribed for children are not FDA-approved for kids. So, Purdue is putting together clinical trials in which 154 lucky kids, aged six to 16, will be be studied on the substance. Yet, although children’s responses to OxyContin is definitely something we should have on medical file, others are more so rightly concerned that a kid-branded OxyContin could tax an entire generation with addiction problems:

“There’s good medical evidence that suggests a brain that’s not fully mature is at greater risk at developing the disease of addiction,” said Andrew Kolodny, president of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing and the head of psychiatry at Maimonides Medical Center in New York City. The pediatric community underestimates those risks, he said, because they have given too much credence to drugmakers, who have systematically downplayed the dangers.

“Much of that misinformation (came from a) campaign funded by Purdue.”

That being said, there are quite a few financial incentives for Purdue here too as OxyContin raked in $2.8 billion dollars in 2011 alone. Purdue in no way wants to lose their patent on the highly lucrative drug, which comes up for expiration next year. And the FDA is offering up a six-month extension in exchange for these clinical pediatric trials.

Sales of kiddie OxyContin are not expected to rise more than a couple of percents, but even so, the kid-friendly aspect of this powerful drug gives me unsettling flashes of those chewable Flintstones vitamins.

(photo: Jacek Chabraszewski/ Shutterstock)