New Safety Measures Announced for Extended-release and Long-acting Opiods

The FDA’s new guidance for extended-release/long-acting opiods will likely impact the use of prescription and over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

The updated indication states that ER/LA opioids are indicated for the management of pain severe enough to require daily, around-the-clock, long-term opioid treatment and for which alternative treatment options are inadequate.

The updated indication further clarifies that, because of the risks of addiction, abuse, and misuse, even at recommended doses, and because of the greater risks of overdose and death, these drugs should be reserved for use in patients for whom alternative treatment options (e.g., non-opioid analgesics or immediate-release opioids) are ineffective, not tolerated, or would be otherwise inadequate to provide sufficient management of pain; ER/LA opioid analgesics are not indicated for as-needed pain relief.

The FDA is also requiring a new boxed warning on ER/LA opioid analgesics to caution that chronic maternal use of these products during pregnancy can result in neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome (NOWS), which may be life-threatening. NOWS can occur in a newborn exposed to opioid drugs while in the mother’s womb. Symptoms may include poor feeding, rapid breathing, trembling, and excessive or high-pitched crying.