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Validity testing of patient objections to acceptance of tamper-resistant opioid formulations

Authors Argoff CE, Stanos SP, Wieman MS

Received 25 August 2012

Accepted for publication 20 December 2012

Published 16 May 2013 Volume 2013:6 Pages 367—373


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Charles E Argoff,1 Steven P Stanos,2 Matthew S Wieman3

1Department of Neurology, Albany Medical College Neurology Group, Albany, NY, USA; 2Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Center for Pain Management, Northwestern University Medical School, Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL, USA; 3Department of Medical Sciences, Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc, Chadds Ford, PA, USA

Background: Tamper-resistant formulations (TRFs) of oral opioid drugs are intended to prevent certain types of abuse (eg, intranasal, intravenous). Patients raising objections to receiving a TRF may have valid concerns or may be seeking a formulation that can be more easily misused.
Methods: US clinicians experienced in pain management met in October 2011 to discuss common patient objections to being switched from a non-TRF opioid to a TRF of the same opioid. Retail pharmacy, health insurance, and scientific data were used to assess the potential validity of these patient objections.
Results: Clinical experience switching patients from a non-TRF to a TRF opioid was limited to oxycodone controlled release (CR), as it was the only TRF available at that time; knowledge of other TRFs was limited to the scientific literature. Common objections from patients included “costs more,” “not covered by insurance,” “can't feel it working,” and “causes adverse events.” Objective retail pharmacy and insurance coverage information for oxycodone CR was accessible and indicated that patient objections were based on cost and coverage varied by insurer. Unpublished trial results ( revealed that TRF oxycodone CR has a slower initial release than the non-TRF formulation, which may reduce positive subjective effects. The complaint “I can't feel it working” may reflect lessened positive subjective effects rather than reduced analgesic efficacy. Most tolerability complaints lacked objective support.
Conclusion: The general process used to assess the validity of patient objections to TRF oxycodone CR may be applied to other TRFs once they become available. Publication of clinical data on TRFs would help clinicians to appropriately weigh patient concerns.

Keywords: opioid analgesics, chronic pain, substance abuse, tamper-resistant formulations

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