The FDA has taken a big step in the fight against opioid overdose, adding black box warnings to immediate release opioid painkillers including oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, and other related drugs.
These warning labels caution that use leads to an increased risk of abuse, addiction, overdose, and death. The hope is that these warnings will remind patients and physicians that opioid prescription is not to be taken lightly, and that a more serious attitude toward the drugs will decrease overdose and death rates.
The Executive Director of the American Academy of Pain Management, Bob Twillman, PhD, issued a statement shortly after the FDA guidelines were released. He cautions that these black-box warnings may decrease the quality of patient care by discouraging physicians from prescribing opioids at all, even to those whose condition justifies use.