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Prescription drug abuse has been on the rise for some time in the United States and often results in dangerous addiction, overdose, and fatalities. As a result, alternatives to powerful opioid painkillers are being actively sought out. Recently approved by the FDA, the drug Hysingla ER (hydrocodone bitartrate) has features to help reduce abuse of the drug and lessen the potential for abuse.
Hydrocodone, more commonly known by the brand name Vicodin, is a strong, opioid painkiller that is frequently abused. In fact, it is estimated that 22 million Americans have misused prescription painkillers since 2002. Though there is a great risk of addiction and abuse, doctors want these effective painkillers available to provide patient comfort.
The recently approved Hysingla ER is by design less likely to be abused than previously prescribed hydrocodone drugs. The tablet is designed for extended release that is strong enough to provide 24 hour treatment for pain. Additionally, the tablet is designed to be difficult to crush, break, or dissolve to make it less likely to be abused by snorting or injecting.
The approval of Hysingla ER follows rulings in August that restrict the access to opioid based painkillers. Under the new controls, only a three month supply can be prescribed at a time, and the patient must see the doctor to get refills.
New drug design and regulations are aimed at reducing the rising epidemic of opioid overdose in the United States. Additional tracking of Hysingla ER will occur through usage studies to assess the abuse-deterrent features.