Pubdate: Thu, 29 Mar 2001
Source: Lexington Herald-Leader (KY)
Copyright: 2001 Lexington Herald-Leader
Author: Edgar Iwamoto


I would like to offer a partial solution to the OxyContin problem. The 
dosage of oxycodone, the active ingredient in OxyContin, could be 
reformulated with the addition of 1 milligram of the opioid antagonist 
naloxone (Narcan). This technique was used more than 20 years ago to 
discourage Talwin abuse.

The oxycodone/naloxone combination will curb the so-called euphoria sought 
by intravenous drug users of OxyContin because the opioid antagonistic 
actions of naloxone are still potent after intravenous injection.

In contrast, the drug combination retains its pain-killing properties after 
oral administration (the prescribed way to take the drug) because the 
naloxone will be immediately deactivated by liver enzymes. This 
oxycodone/naloxone combination would also decrease the number of OxyContin 
deaths after intravenous injection because naloxone antagonizes oxycodone 

A word of warning: Individuals who are chemically dependent on OxyContin, 
or any other morphine-like drug, should not administer this 
oxycontin/naloxone formulation because a brief but intense opioid 
withdrawal syndrome (a non-life-threatening bout of nausea, vomiting and 
diarrhea) will result.

Finally, for those individuals seeking to ``come clean,'' the procedure of 
drug detoxification is the method of choice. In this procedure, gradually 
decreasing doses of methadone are administered over a period of days until 
the final dose of methadone is zero. In the end, the individual will be 
completely off both methadone and the OxyContin.

Edgar Iwamoto

Department of Pharmacology

University of Kentucky

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