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An overview of abuse-deterrent opioids and recommendations for practical patient care

Authors Adler JA, Mallick-Searle T

Received 28 February 2018

Accepted for publication 28 April 2018

Published 11 July 2018 Volume 2018:11 Pages 323—332

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/JMDH.S166915

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Colin Mak

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser


Jeremy A Adler,1 Theresa Mallick-Searle2

1Pacific Pain Medicine Consultants, Encinitas, CA, USA; 2Division of Pain Medicine, Stanford Outpatient Medical Center, Redwood City, CA, USA

Abstract: Despite advances in the treatment of severe intractable pain, opioids remain a critical and appropriate component of treatment. However, abuse, misuse, and diversion of prescription opioids are significant public health concerns. Opioid abuse-deterrent formulations (ADFs) are one component of an opioid risk management plan to manage patient’s pain relief and quality of life while offering some protection against potentially harmful consequences of opioids from misuse and abuse. Opioid ADFs are designed to make manipulation more difficult and administration via non-oral routes less appealing. There are currently nine extended-release and one immediate-release opioid pain medications with US Food and Drug Administration-approved ADF labeling. All use physical/chemical barriers or agonist/antagonist combinations to deter manipulation and abuse. Evidence suggests that opioid ADFs decrease rates of abuse and diversion of opioids in the USA; however, some opioid ADFs are not yet commercially available or have not been on the market long enough to undergo post-marketing data analyses. Opioid ADFs along with the use of prescription drug monitoring programs, clinical assessment tools, toxicology testing, and co-prescribing of naloxone are all tools that can be used to reduce opioid abuse. Patient education on the risks of abuse and diversion is vital and includes a discussion of appropriate use of medication and proper storage. Physician assistants and nurse practitioners are on the “front lines” in battling opioid abuse and serve a key role in recognizing and mitigating the risks of prescription opioid diversion, abuse, and misuse (intentional and unintentional) and in identifying patients at risk for abuse while still providing pain relief to patients.

Keywords: abuse, abuse-deterrent, diversion, misuse, opioid

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