FDA Requests Removal of Endo’s Opioid Pain Drug
The US Food and Drug Administration requested that Endo Pharmaceuticals remove its opioid pain medication, reformulated Opana ER (oxymorphone hydrochloride), from the market based on its concern that the benefits of the drug may no longer outweigh its risks. This is the first time the agency has taken steps to remove a currently marketed opioid pain medication from sale due to the public health consequences of abuse.
“We are facing an opioid epidemic – a public health crisis, and we must take all necessary steps to reduce the scope of opioid misuse and abuse,” said FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, in a statement “We will continue to take regulatory steps when we see situations where an opioid product’s risks outweigh its benefits, not only for its intended patient population but also in regard to its potential for misuse and abuse.”
The FDA said that its decision is based on a review of all available postmarketing data, which demonstrated a “significant” shift in the route of abuse of Opana ER from nasal to injection following the product’s reformulation. The agency said that injection abuse of reformulated Opana ER has been associated with a serious outbreak of HIV and hepatitis C as well as cases of a serious blood disorder (thrombotic microangiopathy).
Opana ER was first approved in 2006 for the management of moderate-to-severe pain when a continuous, around-the-clock opioid analgesic is needed for an extended period of time. In 2012, Endo replaced the original formulation of Opana ER with a new formulation intended to make the drug resistant to physical and chemical manipulation for abuse by snorting or injecting. While the product met the regulatory standards for approval, the FDA determined that the data did not show that the reformulation could be expected to meaningfully reduce abuse and declined the company’s request to include labeling describing potentially abuse-deterrent properties for Opana ER. Now, with more information about the risks of the reformulated product, the agency is taking steps to remove the reformulated Opana ER from the market.
In a statement, Endo said it “is reviewing the request and is evaluating the full range of potential options as we determine the appropriate path forward.”